Tension Headaches: Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

Tension headache is a very common type of headache. Some patients say that a tension headache feels like a tight band around their foreheads. To varying degrees, it affects one in two adults with a predominance of women. What are the causes, how to recognize symptoms and what treatment do we have?

The pain is usually mild to moderate, non-pulsatile, oppressive and bilateral, although it may appear only on one side only. It does not get worse in case of physical effort. By cons, it may radiate to the neck and the back of the skull.

We speak of chronic tension headache when it occurs at least fifteen days per month for at least six months.

Tension headache can have different causes: muscle problems, skeletal, joint, cervical, or psychosomatic, and be triggered by stress.

Some situations favor headache:

• Sitting for a long time

• Playback without headrest

• Inadequate posture at a computer

• Keep the bent neck during an activity

Tension Headaches Causes, Symptoms Treatments


• The tension headache pain is manifested by a (typically non-pulsatile) to the neck, the temples or the front helmet or bar, on either side of the head or a single side. It rarely causes nausea or vomiting.

• Is not observed severe intolerance to light or sound.

• The intensity of the pain is mild to moderate.

• In most cases, the pain does not stop to perform daily tasks. However, when it is of a chronic nature, the situation is very different, with a real impact on the professional and private life.

• Children can also suffer.


The causes of tension headache are poorly understood and several factors are probably involved. It should be noted that migraine may suffer from tension headaches and vice versa, which also means that they are two different types of pain head.

As regards the possible causes (which may intersect) will be selected:

• Poor reading position in front of computer work.

• Stress

• Hormonal factors (women are more affected than men)

• Muscle problems, skeletal, joint, cervical.


Identify risk situations to correct them, taking a timetable of painful episodes. Over time, it will reveal the harmful behavior (lack of sleep, excessive time on the computer, stress, anxiety).

Move and breathe every day for at least thirty minutes.

Learn to manage stress and relax. Yoga, relaxation therapy, massage can help. The benefits of a hot bath are far from negligible. A combination of antidepressants and stress management can be considered.

Manual therapy and acupuncture occur in a background support, but without guarantee. About acupuncture, a meta-analysis of 26 studies yielded mixed results: in some cases, a benefit is observed, but not in others. Regarding the manual therapy in chronic tension headache, the effect seems more convincing.

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