Tension headaches are a painful, frustrating problem that affects millions of Americans. Some people even suffer from them chronically. Here is everything you need to know about chronic tension headaches from the pain management experts at Tieperman Health and Wellness!
What is a tension headache?
The easiest way to describe a tension headache is the feeling of having a tight headband around your forehead. The pain from these headaches is often around the eyes, the head, and/or neck. On average, they occur two times a month, but they can be chronic as well, happening up to fifteen times a month. It is also important to note that women are twice as likely to have these headaches as men.
Causes of a Tension Headache
A variety of things can cause chronic tension headaches. The most common causes would be driving for an extended period, looking at a computer screen too long, or cold temperatures. However, they are also triggered by several other things. The list includes:
- eye strain
- dry eyes
- a cold or flu
- a sinus infection
- poor posture
- emotional stress
- decreased water intake
- lack of sleep
- skipping meals
What are the symptoms of a tension headache?
The most common symptoms of a chronic tension headache are dull head pain, pressure around the forehead, and tenderness around the forehead and scalp. The pain is usually mild, but it can be very intense as well.
Be sure you’re not confusing a tension headache with a migraine. Migraines usually cause pain on one or both sides of your head and also come with other symptoms such as nausea and/or vomiting.
Treating a tension headache at home
Hydration is the first step you should take in trying to relieve your tension headache. Dehydration is a common cause of these headaches, along with a lack of sleep and adequate nutrition. Make sure you are getting enough sleep and eating enough. Feel free to consult our experts at Tieperman Health and Wellness if you need help figuring out your nutrition habits!
If your headaches persist after these options, try over the counter medications such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen. However, use these medications only occasionally. Taking them too often can lead to dependency on them, thereby causing headaches when the medication wears off.
Your healthcare provider should address headaches that are not alleviated by these options. They can prescribe you specific medications used for tension headaches. However, if pain continues, a muscle relaxant might be prescribed, which is used to stop muscle contractions. There are also alternative ways to treat tension headaches, which include acupuncture, cognitive behavioral therapy, and stress management classes.
The outlook for you
The good news is that chronic tension headaches don’t usually cause permanent neurological damage. One of the treatments above usually can improve your quality of life and help alleviate the trouble of these headaches. However, it’s important to track your headaches and your symptoms to ensure that there is not a more severe issue going on.
If you think you may have chronic tension headaches or are not sure how to track your symptoms or have any questions, feel free to contact our experts at Tieperman Health and Wellness. We are dedicated to helping you find a solution and relieving your pain!