TENSION HEADACHES

TENSION HEADACHES — or tension-type headache, as it's medically known — is the most common type of headache, and yet its causes aren't well understood. A tension headache is generally a diffuse, mild to moderate pain that many people describe as feeling as if there's a tight band around their head.
It may feel as though muscle contractions are responsible for your head pain, but experts don't think that's the cause, which is why this type of headache is generally referred to as a tension-type headache.
Fortunately, effective treatments for tension headaches are available. Managing a tension headache is often a balance between fostering healthy habits, finding effective non-drug treatments and using medications appropriately.

Signs and symptoms of a tension headache include:

A tension headache can last from 30 minutes to an entire week. You may experience these headaches only occasionally, or nearly all the time. If your headaches occur 15 or more days a month for at least three months, they're considered chronic. If you have headaches that occur fewer than 15 times in a month, your headaches are considered episodic. However, people with frequent episodic headaches are at a higher risk of developing chronic headaches.
The headache is usually described as mild to moderately intense. The severity of the pain varies from one person to another, and from one headache to another in the same person.
Tension headaches can sometimes be difficult to distinguish from migraines, but unlike some forms of migraine, tension headache usually isn't associated with visual disturbances (blind spots or flashing lights), nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, weakness or numbness on one side of the body, or slurred speech. And, while physical activity typically aggravates migraine pain, it doesn't make tension headache pain worse. An increased sensitivity to light or sound can occur with a tension headache, but this isn't a common symptom.
When to see a doctor
If tension headache disrupts your life, don't hesitate to talk to your doctor. If you find that you need to take medication for your headaches more than twice a week, make an appointment to see your doctor.
Occasionally, headaches may indicate a serious medical condition, such as a brain tumor or rupture of a weakened blood vessel (aneurysm). Even if you have a history of headaches, see your doctor if the pattern changes or your headaches suddenly feel different.
When to go to the emergency room immediately if you have any of these warning signs and symptoms: