Common Characteristics of Tension Headaches

Tension headaches can make you feel miserable, no doubt about it. Scientists are continuing to try to understand tension headaches and explore avenues for treatments.

Tension Headache Information
There are two types of headaches - primary and secondary:

  • Primary: headaches that are not caused by medical problems or by medication. The most common type of primary headache is the tension headache.
  • Secondary: headaches caused by drugs or by underlying medical conditions.

You may have a tension headache if your head feels like as though it is being squeezed on both sides; you will also feel steady pain in your forehead. Pain is mild to moderate in strength, and your neck and shoulders might also feel stiff or sore. Unlike with migraine headaches, exercise will not make tension headaches worse.

Tension headaches can be divided into two types: episodic and chronic. Episodic tension headaches can be further divided into infrequent or frequent. You have infrequent tension headaches if you experience a tension headache once a month for10 months but not more than 12 months a year. Generally speaking, infrequent tension headaches do not affect your overall ability to enjoy life.

You may be experiencing frequent tension headaches if you have headaches that last from about 30 minutes to a full week for one to fifteen days a month for three months. Another way of looking at frequent tension headaches is experiencing headaches for a minimum of 12 days to a maximum of 180 days per year. Frequent tension headaches can affect the quality of your life.

Chronic tension headaches occur more than 180 days per year and may be more or less continuous in duration. In addition to the other symptoms of tension headaches, you may feel nauseas and be light or sound sensitive. Chronic tension headaches can be debilitating and can severely affect the quality of your life.

If you suspect that you have frequent or chronic tension headaches, it is important that you schedule an appointment with your physician to discuss headache cures. Taking over the counter headache drugs to treat tension headaches can eventually backfire on you, as you may get headaches simply because you quit taking the OTC drugs. Your doctor may suggest treatments ranging from biofeedback to anti-depressants depending on your condition. 

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