Otherwise known as stress headaches, tension headaches (TTH) are described as an unpleasant feeling from the muscles throughout the head, neck, and shoulder areas tensing up.
Tension headaches are the most frequently occurring headaches. Tension headaches tend to be more common in women than they are in men.
Causes of Tension Headaches
Tension headaches may develop as symptoms of the flu or a cold. They can also come from a person not getting as much rest as necessary.
Another potential cause for TTHs is poor posture. Poor posture can put more stress on the muscles.
In addition, dietary habits can play a role in the development of tension headaches. Many people with busy schedules end up skipping meals. Skipping meals can cause low blood glucose levels which could trigger headaches. Furthermore, people who drink excessive amounts of alcohol are likely to develop the condition.
Some foods are considered as risk factors for tension headaches including nuts, chocolate, aged cheeses, dried fruits, and much more. People who often get TTHs should also cut down on drinks with a high caffeine content like soda and coffee.
Types of Tension Headaches
There are several forms of the headache which include the episodic and chronic tension headaches. The doctor can tell whether you have chronic or episodic tension headaches based on the frequency over a course of three months.
A person with episodic tension headaches get them fewer than 15 days per month. These headaches can last from 30 minutes to 1 week.
Chronic tension headaches may occur more than 15 days a month and can go on for hours.
Getting Help for Tension Headaches
You should contact a doctor immediately if you are start to experience vision or speaking problems. Moreover, you should get help if the headache begins to interfere with your daily activities.
Treatment for Tension Headaches
Over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen and aspirin are often used for relieving headache pain. Tricylic antidepressants can also be helpful.
Several combination medications are shown to be effective. An example is the combination of caffeine, aspirin, and acetaminophen.
Certain anticonvulsants such as topiramate (Topamax) can treat tension headaches.
In addition, incorporating relaxation techniques into your daily life might be useful for reducing stress.