Tension headaches are the most common type of headache, and they are usually caused by stress and muscle tension. They cause constant, rather than throbbing pain, and tend to affect both sides of the head. Symptoms of tension headaches include tightness in the neck and shoulder muscles, as well as a dull, aching pain in the head. To relieve tight neck and shoulder muscles, you can apply heat or ice.
Low-temperature heating pads, hot water bottles, hot showers or baths, warm compresses, or warm towels can all be used to apply heat. Alternatively, you can use an ice pack (wrapped in a cloth) or a cold cloth to the forehead. If tension headaches occur regularly or frequently, therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, relaxation therapy, or biofeedback can reduce or eliminate them. While chronic tension headaches can disrupt your life, they usually don't cause serious health problems.
If you have frequent tension headaches (more than once or twice a week), there are some strategies that can help you get rid of them. The goal is to treat headache symptoms right away and prevent headaches by avoiding or changing triggers. Keeping a headache diary can help you identify triggers and find relief. Write down when your headaches start, your activities, how long your headaches last, and anything that provides relief.
Unfortunately, repeated use of painkillers that are available without a prescription can cause another type of headache - the headache from overuse of medications.