Tension headache: symptoms, causes, treatment, reviews

One of the most common types of pain that anyone can get at any time is a headache. It is extremely difficult to determine the cause of these sensations, especially if there wasn’t all explaining the trauma. It is not for nothing that a stable phraseologism “this is my headache” has appeared - this is how they talk about a problem that causes serious discomfort and even suffering, and it is rather difficult to solve it. Symptoms of tension headache in one or another combination are familiar to almost everyone. What is this phenomenon and how to deal with it?

tension headache symptoms

Headache categories

Experts share headaches on primary and symptomatic. In the first case we are talking about pain in general. It arises for some mysterious reason and is the main underlying problem. In the second case, pain is a symptom of a disease, a consequence of injury or a precursor of a critical condition. It is important to be able to distinguish between these categories, but in case of any doubts, it is better to give it to physicians.

The most common is tension headache. Symptoms may differ somewhat individually. But, as a rule, it is a ring-shaped, symmetric squeezing pain without cluster pulsation or noticeable localization, as in migraines. According to statistics, almost half of the entire population of the world suffers from periodic HDN (tension headaches), and in the absence of proper treatment, they may well become chronic. Other types of primary category are somewhat less common, but doctors note that it is only possible to judge by citizens who have applied to the clinic. Many prefer to cope on their own.

Cluster headaches can not be confused with HDN, they are characterized by narrow localization, no wonder they are also called “beam”. It seems that the pain passes through the head with a beam, and the intensity is so great that it is simply impossible to cope or overcome it by willpower.

tension headache

Stress Headache Features

Experts call the main cause of HDN stress. It is the nervous state that becomes the catalyst for pain.Therefore, it is quite difficult to isolate a separate category of people at risk — stress is not localized, it is equally overtaken by office workers and courageous steelworkers.

Unlike migraines, the symptoms of tension headaches may seem slight. It does not increase when walking or doing physical work, in some cases, on the contrary, it even helps to reduce the intensity of unpleasant sensations, to distract.

Another important feature of HDN is associated muscle reactions. Often people notice that during an attack, the muscles of the neck and shoulders are over-stressed, they can be pulled between the shoulder blades. Office workers, forced to work hard at the computer, also noted pains in the right hand, if they actively use a mouse - muscles pull from shoulder to wrist, and this sensation is sometimes mistaken for tunnel syndrome. If at the same time symptoms are accompanied by ringing headache, most likely, the problem is in HDN, which is accompanied by muscle hypertonus.

Self-test methods

Most often, the diagnosis can be made independently. If two or three points coincide, then we can assume that this is indeed a tension headache:

  • feeling of a hoop, cap or helmet squeezing around the head;
  • sensitivity to light is possible;
  • appears predominantly during the day and almost never happens at night;
  • not accompanied by nausea, loss of orientation, memory impairment;
  • does not interfere with physical activity;
  • accompanied by tension of the muscles of the neck, shoulders and / or back.

Well helps self-diagnosis careful keeping a diary of the state, this is evidenced by the reviews. The headache of tension can appear only a couple of times a month, but if it happens literally every other day, then it can be argued that the situation is nearing a chronic form.

tension headache symptoms and treatment

Main symptoms

The absence of a narrow localization is often described by such comparisons as “they put a pressing hoop on the head” or “as if the cap is too tight.” Most likely, this is precisely a tension headache, the symptoms are typical and easily recognized. Well, if this does not duplicate the sensations from other existing diseases. In the practice of doctors, the association of HDN and osteochondrosis is often indicated - sharp pains in the spine provoke overstrain of muscles, and this, in turn, contributes to the accumulation of stress and provokes the corresponding pain.

Unfortunately, it’s in our mentality that our head hurts as if by itself, and if you can endure it, then you don’t need to consult a doctor. Partly to blame, and some doctors, carelessly related to their duties. Potential patients prefer not to pull the doctor "with all sorts of nonsense" and trigger the situation. Qualified doctors insist: making the correct diagnosis is not so easy, even if there is an appropriate education, a subjective attitude interferes, and the availability of cheap drugs with anesthetic action can create the illusion of no problem.


A visit to a therapist about a headache is only the first step, but very true and even necessary. You can easily confuse periodic HDN and chronic, and they are treated with fundamentally different drugs. However, before making a diagnosis, the doctor should rule out possible clinical causes of the symptoms. Therefore, various examinations are appointed: magnetic resonance or computed tomography, vascular ultrasound, encephalography. You may need an x-ray of the head, cervical spine.If the symptoms and causes of tension headaches indicate the presence of a disease that provoked sensations, then HDN is just a symptom, and it will decrease as the main cause of the ailment cures.

Intermittent pain

From two to fifteen cases of HDN per month can be considered periodic seizures. If they happen less often, then there is nothing to worry about, since we are talking about sensations of moderate intensity. To establish the correct diagnosis, you can independently take notes, noting your subjective feelings - when pain was noticed, how strong they were, how long they lasted, what additional sensations were accompanied. This will help the doctor correctly analyze the history, prescribe the necessary examinations and decide on the order of treatment.

tension headache symptoms and treatment reviews

Important: depending on the symptoms of tension headache, and the treatment is selected in such a way as to not harm, but as soon as possible normalize the patient's condition! If we are talking about a primary periodic HDN of low intensity, then you can even do without medicines, giving preference to measures to reduce stress and nervous tension.

In this case, well helps massage, relaxation, walking in silence.For many, the best way to get rid of stress and calm down become yoga classes, meditative practices. If during the holidays, HDN is released, then most likely the cause is overwork and an unhealthy atmosphere at work.

Chronic pain

The frequency of attacks exceeds 15 times a month, HDN becomes a constant companion, the intensity gradually increases. These are chronic tension headaches, and many experts strongly recommend visiting narrow specialists to find out the cause of this condition. It seriously impairs the quality of life, directly affects the character. A psychiatrist can identify signs of a depressive state and select compensatory therapy.

It is important to understand that any chronic disease entails complex, systemic changes in the body. The body is trying to adapt to unhealthy living conditions, to balance the shortcomings. As a result, symptoms of tension headache can clearly appear, and treatment will depend on a number of factors.

There are cases when chronic HDN has passed after successful dental treatment, although it would seem, what could be the connection.However, inflammation provoked, among other things, muscle hypertonus of the maxillary section, and prolonged chronic headaches resulted.

tension headache symptoms treatment folk remedies

Ways to treat tension headache

If there are no diseases that can be considered the cause of HDN, then treatment is prescribed in accordance with the intensity of pain. For intermittent pain, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs with an analgesic effect, such as Ibuprofen, have shown themselves well. Paracetamol-based drugs are prescribed less frequently, because they are much less effective, but can help in individual cases, as evidenced by feedback collected from patients. Treatment of symptoms of tension headache allows you to quickly restore performance, but only with the correct diagnosis.

In chronic HDN, antidepressants are prescribed, and it is necessary to consult a doctor to get a prescription. This allows you to choose the drug and dosage strictly individually. In the presence of an accompanying overstrain of the muscles of the neck, shoulders and upper spine, substantial relief can be broughtmuscle relaxants.

Doctors strictly warn: alcohol actually does not help in the event of a headache. On the contrary, the negative pressure on the body increases, the vessels first expand under the influence of alcohol, then narrow more strongly. The illusion of relief can become an insidious trap and create addiction.

You should not also use compresses with an extreme temperature difference. A hot or ice compress is a diversion that can cause harm. It is difficult to classify the emerging pain, perhaps it is not the usual HDN, but a symptom of a newly emerging disease. It is better to be vigilant and not aggravate the situation.

Self treatment problems

Doctors call the biggest mistake to try to take medications intuitively or on the basis of other people's experience. If some medicine helps a relative and a headache, the simplest household advertising of tablets as a panacea for everything begins. But it can be different types of pain, and this nuance cannot be discounted.

The second mistake that almost all self-treatment fans make is increasing the dose unnecessarily.Did not help one tablet "Analgin"? Need to take another, probably just a little. The drug is not suitable, but it is aggressively swallowed, in the hope that the quantity will somehow turn into quality. It is important to remember: any feedback on the treatment of tension headaches is a subjective unprofessional look and valid only for this individual patient!

tension headache symptoms and causes

What happens if you take painkillers for a long time without proper control? Probably, everyone saw in the Hollywood films, how the characters take "pills from the head" almost by the handful. This is a direct path to abuzusnaya headache, and the tablets do not remove it, and are the cause of the occurrence. No wonder it is called "ricochet". Instead of treating HDN, drug abuse causes harm and causes serious suffering. Recognizing abuseous pain is difficult because it is very similar to the tension headache of the symptoms. Treatment of folk remedies in this case will bring much more benefit, especially if it is harmless attachment of cabbage leaves to the sore spot and at the same time the complete abolition of drugs.

No matter how naive it may sound, a cool compress of cabbage leaves can really bring relief. There is a small placebo effect multiplied by psychosomatic mechanisms. Consciousness of the very fact that you have taken treatment measures and should now become easier begins to reduce the level of stress, that is, the main cause of HDN.

The quality of life

With a rather broad look at the state of things, one can consider the situation even useful. We begin to look for a way to relieve the tension headache, and the first logical conclusion of the amateur is: “Stop straining”. Yes, if HDN is detected, this in itself indicates that there is something wrong with the quality of life.

If there is a clear overstrain of the muscles, then the reason may be an uncomfortable workplace or even just a poorly adjusted chair height. Lack of movement, lack of exercise, poor posture - all this leads to an overstressed muscles. The body is trying to compensate for the inconvenience. If you help yourself and eliminate these shortcomings, the headache will have far fewer reasons for appearing.

tension headache treatment

The condition is dramatically improved,if you manage to unravel the oppressive life situation, get rid of traumatic relationships, if possible eliminate bad habits, love yourself, finally. Esotericists believe that the tension headache is the body’s response to the owner’s dislike — the energy channels are broken.

Of course, the headache itself worsens the quality of life. The mood deteriorates, the motivation to take action is lost, and the higher the intensity of pain, the more difficult it is to do something. But if in the case of cluster pains and migraines, this is really a level that goes beyond the limit, then HDN is a relatively moderate negative feeling with which you can take some adequate steps to correct the situation. Improve the quality of your life, it will help cope!

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