Tension Headache - Symptoms and Treatment

The headache of tension is a condition in which a person feels squeezing, tension or dull unpleasant sensations in the head area.

Soreness can bother a person with different lengths - from several minutes to days, with periods of reduction and exacerbation of discomfort.

The prevalence of HDN in modern society is striking in its scope: according to some data, its incidence reaches 65% among males and 86% among females.

Causes of tension headaches are overwork, stress, prolonged forced position in an uncomfortable position, anxiety disorders, depression, long-term use of analgesics, tranquilizers. More often there is a combination of provoking factors. Symptoms and treatment of this problem will be discussed in this article.


Why does tension headache arise, and what is it? First, the pain is divided into episodic and chronic.

  1. Episodic pain. With this type of tension headache, a person experiences pain no more than 20 days a month or 180 days a year. The intensity of episodic pain will be low.
  2. Chronic pain of exertion is said, when the attacks take more than 15 days a month, this form is characterized by a greater intensity of symptoms.

Despite the fact that the differences in these types of tension headaches are very conditional, they help the doctor orient and put the patient to the correct diagnosis.

The reasons

At the moment, you can select a huge number of factors that can provoke such pain. So what can cause tension headaches?

  1. Psychological stress, as well as various states of affect, such as deep depression or severe anxiety. We should not forget that depression can be expressed both in open and closed form. In other words, in some cases, the patient simply does not recognize that he is in a state of depression, and therefore categorically refuses some kind of treatment. It is precisely such cases that are the most dangerous because they can most often cause serious headaches. In situations where pains in the head arise precisely because of psychological stress, the patient may also complain about the disturbance of appetite and sleep, irritability and too fast fatigue.
  2. In second place among the causes of tension headache is muscular stress. It represents a prolonged muscle tension, when a person does not move for a long time. The headache of muscle tension is most often caused by overstrain of the neck, eye muscles, and also the muscles of the shoulder girdle and the scalp aponeurosis.
  3. Headache can provoke excessive consumption of tranquilizers, analgesics with the content of acetylsalicylic acid, etc. With the use of such drugs, you must be extremely careful!

Particularly high probability of getting a headache of tension in people with a specific work activity. Drivers, accountants and other people who spend a lot of time behind a computer monitor fall into this category. Also high risk of this disease in watchmakers, jewelers and other professions, constantly straining the visual muscles.

Symptoms of tension headache

Usually the tension headache has certain symptoms. People describe the symptoms as compression or pressure (like a tight hoop around the head, squeezing a belt, or like a hat (hat), which is small). The pain is usually bilateral and often spreads up or down from the neck.

The pain is mostly mild or moderate, but can sometimes be so intense as to interfere with daily activities. There are usually no other symptoms, although some people with tension headaches do not like bright lights and loud sounds, they have reduced appetite.

Developed criteria for the diagnosis of tension headache, it is characterized by the following features:

  • compressive or squeezing character;
  • mild or moderate intensity;
  • stays the same with regular physical exertion;
  • not accompanied by nausea;
  • photo or phonophobia is possible.

In order for a diagnosis to be made, it is necessary that at least two of the above characteristics are present.

What drugs to relieve tension headaches?

To relieve an attack, as well as relieve headache, apply:

  • ibuprofen - 400-800 mg each;
  • acetylsalicylic acid - 600-1000 mg;
  • paracetamol - 100 mg;
  • diclofenac - 50-100 mg;
  • flupirtine - 100 mg.

To prevent the onset of pain:

  • amitriptyline, 10-100 mg each;
  • nortyptilin - 10-100 mg each;
  • tizanidine - 2-6 mg per day;
  • baclofen - 10-25 mg 2-3 times a day.

To get rid of GB, which arose under the action of provoking factors, help high-speed NSAIDs. Today it has been established that none of the analgesics can remove GB in all, without exception, and each patient needs an individual selection of the drug.

But we must not forget that, by using painkillers for too long, you can get the opposite effect - an abuse headache (that is, these drugs cause it themselves), so you need to be very careful with the use of drugs in treating tension headaches.

Stress management headaches

When tension headaches have appeared, treatment means, first of all, clarification, as well as elimination of their causes. The procedure of complex treatment must be prescribed by a doctor, in most cases it is a combination of relaxation and medicines.

  1. The main place in the treatment is the normalization of the emotional state of the patient. It is necessary to adequately approach the treatment of depression, phobias, anxiety. That is why most patients are prescribed antidepressant drugs (amitriptyline, fluoxetine, venlafaxine).
  2. To remove muscle tension, muscle relaxants are prescribed (tizanidine).
  3. NSAIDs (diclofenac, acetylsalicylic acid, naproxen) are also taken, only as an aid, and only briefly, symptomatically.

The basic principles of non-drug treatment of tension headache are as follows:

  1. Need to sleep at least 7-8 hours a day. If you need to get up early in the morning - go to bed early.
  2. Try to eat well (at least 3-4 times a day) and drink at least 2 liters of pure water per day (except tea, coffee and alcoholic beverages).
  3. During long work at the computer, it is necessary to take breaks and to be distracted somehow. Effective exercises will be for the eyes and a small physical workout.
  4. Try to move more and stay longer in the fresh air.

Acupuncture, manual therapy, massage, relaxation therapy, biologically feedback are also used. How to get rid of a severe headache tension, the doctor must tell. You need to be prepared for the fact that the treatment may take 2-3 months.


You can warn them by such methods:

  • psychotherapy and physiotherapy;
  • water procedures and manual therapy;
  • health improvement at resorts;
  • choose the optimal mode of work and rest;
  • constantly engage in physical therapy;
  • the indispensable fulfillment of doctor's prescriptions.

Of the drugs used muscle relaxants and antidepressants, which can pick only your doctor.

Watch the video: Tension Headache vs. Migraine (January 2020).


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