What Does a Tension Headache Feel Like?

A tension headache is a common type of headache that is characterized by a feeling of tightness or pressure in the forehead or on the sides and back of the head. People may also experience tenderness in the muscles of the scalp, neck, and shoulders. It may feel like a constant pain that affects both sides of the head, or like a tight band around the forehead. Some people describe it as if someone (or something) is squeezing both sides of their head.

Tension headaches are usually caused by stress and muscle tension. They are usually dull pain, rather than throbbing, and tend to affect both sides of the head. They don't usually cause nausea, vomiting, or sensitivity to light. Tension headaches can be chronic, occurring frequently or every day. The goal is to treat headache symptoms right away and prevent headaches by avoiding or changing triggers.

Pain from tension headaches causes discomfort, but is usually not very disabling, as can migraines. 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. Botulinum toxin type A (BTX-A) is sometimes injected into the muscles of the face and head to treat headaches. However, excessive use of such analgesics may increase the risk that episodic tension headaches develop into chronic tension headaches. Finding and avoiding the things or triggers that cause tension headaches can reduce how often you have headaches and how severe they are when you have them.

Migraine headache is thought to occur first, causing muscle tension leading to tension headache. This is what the official medical publication that classifies all headache disorders calls this headache. Because tension headaches are often caused by specific triggers, identifying the factors that cause headaches is one way to prevent future episodes. This medicine does not treat the headache instantly, but should be taken daily for several months until the headaches subside. Write down when you have a headache and how bad it is, along with details such as what you ate and what you were doing before the headache started.

Debora Lehneis
Debora Lehneis

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

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