Almost everyone has already experienced it: Tension headache is an annoying ailment that severely limits the quality of life, especially in chronic cases. The reasons for this are manifold and have not yet been researched in detail. However, there are effective treatments that can significantly relieve tension headaches.
What is tension headache?
A tension headache is a dull, oppressive pain that radiates from the neck over the entire head and is perceived as mild or moderate in intensity. For npc explanations, please visit aviationopedia.com.
However, the term tension headache is only correct if there are no causal diseases of the brain, food intolerance or poisoning as a trigger. In contrast to such secondary headaches with a clear cause, tension headaches are also referred to as primary headaches.
There are two types of tension headache: Episodic tension headaches are when the pain attacks occur at least ten times a year, but not more than 180 days a year. Chronic tension-type headache occurs for at least 15 days a month, for at least six consecutive months, and represents a severe impairment of well-being.
Tension headaches can have different causes. Poor sitting posture or overexertion and chronic tension in the masticatory muscles are possible. Uncorrected ametropia or the wrong glasses can also contribute significantly to the development of tension headaches.
In the case of computer work, an inferior quality of the screen used should also be considered as a trigger. Psychological factors also play a role: Permanent stress, pressure to perform and bullying are reliable sources of tension headaches, especially if the resulting inner restlessness is not regularly reduced by sufficient physical exercise and relaxation.
Tension headaches are further aggravated by stressful influences such as constant noise and flickering artificial light. Often there is also a hereditary component that leads to an increased tendency to tension headaches.
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
Tension headaches are often described as oppressive. For sufferers, it can feel like a weight is on their skull. It is also possible that the tension headache is felt as pulling, but typically not as tearing or stabbing. Instead, this type of headache is characterized by a dull, mild to moderate pain. The pain pulses and does not move.
Some patients experience pain for several days at a time, while other patients experience episodes lasting half an hour or a few hours. The tension headache occurs on both sides of the head and can be felt anywhere in the skull. Additionally, mild nausea, photosensitivity, and other mild symptoms affecting the autonomic nervous system may occur. Tension in the shoulder and neck muscles can also occur. However, some patients do not experience any additional symptoms.
Chronic tension headaches occur on more than half the days of a month for at least six months. In contrast, acute or episodic tension headaches are present on less than half of the days. The symptoms do not get worse when the person moves around a little or performs everyday tasks. Nevertheless, tension headaches can impair the quality of life.
Diagnosis & History
Anyone who suffers from recurring headaches should consult a doctor to have the cause clarified beyond a doubt. The doctor will ask detailed questions about the type, frequency, and regularity of the headaches.
If the patient’s information is inaccurate, he will ask him to keep a pain diary for a limited period of time, in which it is recorded exactly when, under what circumstances and with what intensity the pain occurs. An experienced doctor will recognize the pattern of a typical tension headache.
A palpation examination of the neck and chewing muscles can also provide clues to the diagnosis of tension headaches. With regard to the long-term course, it can be said that untreated episodic tension headaches can become chronic if there is a hereditary predisposition and the respective trigger is not eliminated.
Tension headaches are usually not a problem. However, if the symptoms keep recurring, it can lead to serious complications. Regular tension headaches can turn into migraines over time. This is associated with gastrointestinal complaints and other symptoms. In the long term, the symptoms can also lead to depression and anxiety.
If mental illnesses are already present, tension headaches indicate a severe course. The condition that caused it often worsens and has a negative effect on the quality of life and well-being of the person affected. Accompanying this, tension and visual disturbances can occur. When treating tension headaches, the risks lie in incorrect or inadequate therapy. Drug treatment can, under certain circumstances, aggravate the symptoms.
In addition, ibuprofen and Co. can cause side effects and interactions such as headaches and body aches, gastrointestinal complaints and skin irritations. In the long run, such preparations cause kidney and liver damage as well as diseases of the cardiovascular system. With other therapeutic measures such as meditation, massages or autogenic training, complications are unlikely. It is advisable to work out the treatment measures together with a doctor and, ideally, to implement them under medical supervision.
When should you go to the doctor?
Tension headaches are quickly self-diagnosed, because it affects those affected regularly and over time they can classify it and treat it themselves with mild painkillers. If it is known that it is a tension headache, a doctor’s visit is not necessary. However, changes, an increase in the intensity of the pain or new tension headaches indicate that something has changed in the body. Only a doctor can clarify where the symptoms are coming from or what caused the change in the usual tension headaches.
It can be bad posture, but it can also be an organic problem that can be treated to improve tension headaches. Headache can have various causes, often it is just a symptom of an underlying disease – albeit a very distressing symptom.
Even if the patient is already familiar with the tension headache and has had it for a long time, a doctor should be consulted if pain medication has to be taken regularly as a result. In the long run, these put a strain on the internal organs and are therefore harmful to health, even if they are often the only really useful measure for immediate relief. To combat this problem before actual damage is done, tension headaches should never be taken lightly, even if it is suspected that they are simply caused by stress and tension.
Treatment & Therapy
The treatment options for tension headaches are as diverse as its causes. If they are of an external or mechanical nature, it is often enough to eliminate the trigger to get rid of the tension headache as well: New glasses, a modification of the workplace (better chair, optimal screen) and the removal of sources of stressful light and noise bring in this cases a definite improvement.
If the reasons for the tension headache are psychological, the exact triggers should also be considered here. Anyone who is constantly under stress should reduce their workload or simplify work processes through reorganization. The resolution of a possible bullying situation should also be tackled quickly.
In any case of tension headaches, it makes sense to learn relaxation techniques: Autogenic training, meditation and biofeedback help to relax nerves and muscles and to get the blood circulation flowing optimally. In addition, body therapy such as the techniques of FM Alexander or Moshé Feldenkrais is recommended.
In this way, the correct use of the muscles is practiced and unnecessary tension is avoided. Drug treatments for tension headaches should only be given after consulting a doctor and should be kept to a minimum.
If you want to prevent tension headaches from developing, you should start regular endurance training that supplies the muscles with oxygen and increases blood circulation. It also makes sense to keep the spine flexible through gymnastics or yoga, so that unpleasant hardening and the resulting tension headaches cannot develop in the first place.
In the case of a tension headache, follow-up care does not necessarily have to be carried out, although in many cases this is significantly limited or not even available to the person concerned. For this reason, the person concerned should ideally consult a doctor very early on. Self-healing can only occur to a limited extent.
Most of those affected are dependent on taking medication that can relieve the symptoms. The person concerned should note that these should be taken regularly and in the correct dosage. If you have any questions or are unclear, consult a doctor first. Physiotherapy and physiotherapy measures are also very useful.
The person concerned can repeat many of the exercises at home and thereby also alleviate the symptoms. In general, stressful activities should be avoided, and support from other people in everyday life is very important. Contact with other people affected by this disease can also be useful, as this leads to an exchange of information that can make it easier to deal with the disease.
You can do that yourself
In order to improve well-being and build up a good quality of life, it is advisable to use relaxation methods when a tension headache has been diagnosed. Autogenic training, mental techniques, yoga or meditation can be applied and used independently in everyday life by those affected. In addition, there are a variety of courses on offer that can be booked for improved relaxation.
If the person concerned notices musings or experiences a stressful everyday life, optimization and changes are necessary. Stressors of any kind should be reduced and cognitive patterns can be transformed. If this is successful as part of self-help, the symptoms are often alleviated. For many of those affected, initial support from a therapist helps. Training and techniques for dealing with buzzing thoughts help to alleviate the processes. In the further course, those affected can also use the techniques they have learned outside of therapy if necessary.
In addition, sleep hygiene should be optimized. The daily routine should be routine and adapted to the needs of the body. Restlessness, conflicts and hectic pace should be avoided. If states of cognitive overload occur, breaks should be taken at the same time and sufficient rest should take place. Food intake, sufficient outdoor exercise and the avoidance of harmful substances such as nicotine and alcohol should also be checked.