Tension Headaches

Tension Headaches

What is a tension headache?

Tension headaches are the most common type of headache. Stress and muscle tension are often factors in tension type headaches. Tension headaches typically do not cause nausea, vomiting, or sensitivity to light (photophobia).

What are the symptoms of a tension headache?

While symptoms may differ, the following are common symptoms of a tension type headache:

The symptoms of tension headaches may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis.

Tension headaches: What are the facts?

The following information is from the American Council for Headache Education regarding tension headaches:

How are tension headaches diagnosed?

Tension headaches are diagnosed primarily based on reported symptoms, but a thorough medical exam, which may include other tests or procedures, may be used to rule out underlying diseases or conditions.

Tracking and sharing information about your headache with your doctor helps with the process of making an accurate diagnosis.

Questions commonly asked during the exam may include, but are not limited to, the following:

If the history is consistent with tension-type headaches and the neurological exam is normal, no further diagnostic testing may be necessary. However, if the headache is not found to be the primary problem, then other tests may be needed to determine the cause.

Tests which may be used to determine the cause of a tension headache may include:

What is the treatment for tension headaches?

Specific treatment for headaches will be determined by your doctor based on:

The ultimate goal of treatment is to stop headaches from occurring. Adequate headache management depends on reducing stress and tension. Some suggestions for tension headache management from the American Headache Society include:

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Online Resources of Nervous System Disorders


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