What Is Tension Headache?
Tension headaches are the most common type of headache, affecting people of all ages. They are often described as a constant, dull ache that may be accompanied by tenderness in the neck and shoulder muscles. Unlike migraines, tension headaches are not usually associated with nausea or sensitivity to light and sound. Understanding the underlying factors contributing to tension headaches is crucial for effective management.
What Are The Symptoms of Tension Headaches?
Symptoms of tension headaches can last from minutes to days, with pain ranging from mild to moderate; severe pain is typically experienced.
Dull, Persistent Pain
Throbbing pain, like a tight band around the head or starting in the back of the head and wrapping around the ear in a ram's horn shape.
Tenderness in the neck and shoulder muscles.
Sensitivity To Light And Sound
Heightened sensitivity to light and sound.
Difficulty concentrating or focusing.
Irritability Or Fatigue
Increased irritability or fatigue.
Causes And Risk Factors
Tension headaches may arise from diverse causes and risk factors. Grasping these factors is essential for effective prevention and treatment.
What Are The Causes?
Tension headaches are often linked to a combination of physical, emotional, and environmental factors. Common triggers include:
- Muscle Tension: Tightening of muscles in the neck and scalp.
- Stress: Emotional and mental stress can contribute to tension headaches.
- Poor Posture: Incorrect posture leads to muscle strain.
- Eyestrain: Prolonged use of digital devices or reading.
What Are The Risk Factors?
Certain factors may increase the likelihood of developing tension headaches:
- Gender: Women are more prone to tension headaches than men.
- Age: Tension headaches are most common in adolescence and middle age.
- Stress Levels: High-stress environments and lifestyles.
- Poor Ergonomics: Prolonged deskwork or computer work can strain the neck and upper back leading to the development of tension headaches.
How Is Tension Headache Diagnosed?
Diagnosing tension headaches involves evaluating a patient’s medical history and relying on clinical criteria due to their commonality. Here’s an overview of the diagnostic process:
- Medical History: The healthcare provider will start by gathering information about the patient’s medical history. This includes asking about the frequency and duration of headaches, the nature of the pain, any triggering factors, and the overall health of the patient.
- Headache Description: Patients detail symptoms, focusing on pain, location, and associated factors. Some maintain a headache diary, tracking frequency, duration, and triggers for valuable diagnostic insights.
- Physical Examination: A physical examination is conducted to assess the patient’s overall health including examining the neck and shoulder muscles for tenderness and assessing the range of motion in the head and neck.
- Diagnostic Criteria: According to the ICHD-3, tension-type headaches are characterized by a pressing or tightening quality, bilateral location, mild to moderate intensity, and not aggravated by routine physical activity.
- Exclusion Of Other Conditions: Healthcare providers may perform additional tests or imaging studies to rule out other potential causes of headache symptoms.
- X-ray: It helps identify known indicators contributing to headaches, such as cervical curve shape, forward head posture, and upper cervical anomalies.
How Can We Treat The Tension Headaches
Highlands Family Chiropractic offers various treatment options for tension headaches, which include the following:
Schedule Your Appointment Today
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