Tension Headaches: Lasting for Days, Weeks, or Even Months

Tension headaches are the most common type of headache that many people experience at some point. They can range from mild to moderate intensity and involve tightness or tension on both sides of the head. Symptoms of episodic tension headaches tend to come on slowly and end sooner, usually not lasting more than a week. However, chronic tension headaches can last for days, weeks, or even months.

Chronic tension headache is a condition in which you have a tension headache at least 15 days a month for at least three months. This can be exhausting and depressing. The cause of chronic tension headache is often unclear, but a medicine called amitriptyline can help prevent the onset of headaches. If you are affected by headaches that occur 15 or more days a month on average for more than three months, it is important to consult your healthcare provider.

They can prescribe medication to help treat and prevent chronic tension-type headaches. However, a proportion of these patients may have developed medication overuse headaches (drug-induced headaches) as a result of their tension headaches. In order to reduce or prevent tension headaches, it is important to identify and avoid triggers that may cause them. Your healthcare provider may ask questions about your family history, diet, and lifestyle to help diagnose the type of headache you have.

Botulinum toxin type A (BTX-A) is sometimes injected into the muscles of the face and head to treat headaches. If over-the-counter medicines don't stop your headaches well enough or if you have a lot of headaches, your doctor may prescribe medicines to prevent headaches. If you experience headaches that interfere with your daily life or if you need to take headache medicine more than twice a week, talk to your health care provider. They are also the type of pain reliever that is most likely to cause headache from overuse of medicines if used regularly. Because tension headaches recur in some people for years, and because continued use of medications can cause serious side effects, prevention is a key aspect in the treatment of tension headaches. Learning what causes your headaches and trying to avoid those triggers can help reduce or prevent them.

Debora Lehneis
Debora Lehneis

Award-winning food advocate. Subtly charming bacon practitioner. Alcohol enthusiast. Proud travel aficionado. Incurable twitter scholar.

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