Tension Headaches

Tension headaches are the most common types of headaches.

Some people who have tension headaches describe the pain to a clamp squeezing the head. Tension headaches are the most common type of headaches among adults, and are sometimes called stress headaches. If you experience tension headaches more often than 15 days per month, your condition is known as chronic, while if you have them less than 15 days per month, they are known as episodic. Tension headaches may last thirty minutes—or days. If you have episodic tension headaches, they may start in the middle of the day, beginning gradually, with the pain increasing as the day progresses.

Chronic tension headaches are almost always there, however the intensity may come and go. Unlike migraine headaches, tension headaches rarely affect strength, balance or vision. As many as three-fourths of U.S. adults get tension headaches from time to time, while about 3 percent suffer chronic, daily tension headaches. While men do have tension headaches, women are twice as likely to have them.

Causes of Tension Headaches

While there is no single, specific cause for tension headaches, the most common causes include:

  • Stress caused by a romantic relationship, your family, your friends or your job
  • Lack of rest
  • Low levels of iron
  • Hunger
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Poor posture

Symptoms and Diagnosis of Tension Headaches

In order to accurately diagnose tension headaches, your healthcare provider will determine whether you have the following symptoms which accompany your headaches:

  • Mild to moderate or severe pressure and pain in the front, sides or top of the head
  • Headaches which are not present on rising, but generally begin later in the day
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Mild sensitivity to noise or light
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Irritability while the headache is present
  • Muscle aches

While there are really no definitive tests which can help your doctor diagnose your tension headaches, your doctor may order certain tests to rule out other causes of head pain, including a tumor. These tests include CT scans and MRI scans.

Treating Tension Headaches

If OTC pain relievers are not helping your tension headaches, the Seattle Pain interventional pain management specialists will develop a comprehensive pain treatment program specially designed to help you return to your life. At Seattle Pain, we will consider your environment when determining the nature of your tension headaches in order to identify potential triggers. Sometimes a simple change like perfecting your posture or squeezing a stress ball can help diminish the frequency and intensity of tension headaches. Other non-traditional and traditional treatments we may use at Seattle Pain include:

  • Opioid drugs
  • Nerve blocks

Are your headaches causing you to miss out on life?

Contact Our Seattle Pain Management Specialists

When your headaches are causing you to miss out on your life, Seattle Pain can relieve your pain and improve your quality of life. Our primary goal is to relieve your pain and help you improve your quality of life. Call Seattle Pain today at 253-944-1289 or complete a contact form today.

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