Tension headaches are commonly described as a sensation that resembles tying up a rubber band around one’s head and then tightening it.
These headaches occur due to volatile contractions in facial, head and neck muscles.
People afflicted by tension headaches can experience varying levels of pain in their head, their eyes, and their neck.
Tension headaches are the most common category of headaches.
About 80 percent of the population of the USA is reported to have experienced tension headaches.
They are primarily episodic in nature, patients usually experience an average estimate of one or two tension headaches every month.
However, they can also sometimes manifest themselves in a more perilous chronic form. These can result in episodes of severe headaches that can last over 15 days on an average month.
A study conducted by the Cleveland Clinic revealed that nearly 3 percent of American citizens are found to experience chronic tension headaches. Additionally, the survey also indicated that among the subjects that were found to have experienced tension headaches in their lifetime, the number of women was nearly double that of men.
Tension Headaches affect almost 20.8 percent of the human population, which accounts for 1.4 billion people.
Studies show varying reports of lifetime prevalence of Tension Headaches, and they range from 30 percent to 78 percent.
The muscular contractions that cause Tension Headaches to occur can be triggered by a number of different factors. These include:
Distress and anxiety in one’s day-to-day life and exhaustion due to excessive labor can be a significant trigger for Tension Headaches. People suffering from mental illnesses such as depression are observed to be more susceptible to Tension Headaches.
The symptoms for Tension Headaches are not as vivid or explicit as the symptoms for other categories of headaches such as migraine, and therefore they are harder to define.
Tension headaches generally do not cause weakness, blurry vision or stomach issues such as nausea or vomiting.
Some common symptoms that may indicate that a person is suffering from Tension Headaches include:
Tension Headaches often go undiagnosed owing to the lack of awareness pertaining to the gravity of the illness.
The process of diagnosis of Tension Headaches involves a physical examination of the symptoms displayed by the patient.
The physician will also take nto account the medical history of the patient, and whether they have experienced episodic Tension Headaches multiple times in the past.
The physician may also run tests such as CT scan, MRI scan, and X-ray on the patient so as to rule out possibilities of other diseases and complications in the internal organs of the patient, for example, a brain tumor.
Here are some of the common remedial measures for Tension Headaches as prescribed by physicians:
Dr. Dwaipayan Sen is a Consultant Stroke Physician and Clinical Lead for Comprehensive Stroke Services (Salford Hope Hospital, UK)
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