Tension Headache: Symptoms, Treatment and Causes

What Is A Tension Headache?

A tension headache is the most common type of headache and the one we think of as a normal everyday headache, which is not caused by any underlying condition.

Symptoms of tension headaches

It may feel like a constant ache that affects both sides of the head, as well as a feeling that the neck muscles are tightening, and/or pressure behind the eyes. Tension headaches are normally not severe enough to prevent you doing everyday activities, however, they can usually last for 30 minutes to several hours, but can last for several days.

Who gets tension headaches?

Most people are likely to have experienced a tension headache at some point. Tension headaches can develop at any age, but are more common in teenagers and adults, with women more likely to suffer from them than men. However, some adults experience persistent and frequent tension headaches, referred to as chronic tension headaches. If you often get severe headaches, for example, several times a week, please contact My Healthcare Clinic for a check-up with one of our private GPs. There is usually no need to see a GP if you only get headaches occasionally.

What causes tension headaches?

The exact cause of tension headaches is not clear, but certain things have been known to trigger them, such as:

·      Stress and anxiety

·      Dehydration

·      Missing meals

·      Lack of exercise

·      Squinting

·      Poor posture

·      Tiredness

·      Bright sunlight

·      Noise

·      Certain smells

How to get rid of a tension headache?

Painkillers such as ibuprofen or paracetamol can be used to help relieve pain. Aspirin may also sometimes be recommended. When taking these medicines, always follow the instructions on the packet. Paracetamol is usually the best choice if you’re pregnant. Do not take ibuprofen during pregnancy without speaking to a GP, midwife or pharmacist first. Children under 16 should not be given aspirin. 
If you are concerned about frequent or severe headaches, please contact My Healthcare Clinic for an appointment with one of our private GPs.