Tension Headaches: FAQs

Updated: Jun 18, 2020

Tension Headaches: FAQs

It is commonly known that women experience more headaches and migraines than men, due to the implications of fluctuating reproductive hormones in the body. Sufferers explain their symptoms in a number of different ways, which has led to the categorization of various kinds of headaches - one of which being a tension headache. These can be differentiated with regards to their causes, symptoms, and treatments. Read on to find out more about this condition.

What Is a Tension Headache?

This kind of headache is thought to be the most common, and it is estimated that about half of the adult population experience them at least once of month - the greater proportion of these being women. Some women are unfortunate enough to suffer from tension headaches more than 15 times per month, for three months or more. In this case, the condition is considered chronic.  Averagely the headache can last between 30 minutes and a few hours, but in extreme cases they can go on for several days.

Are There Specific Symptoms of Tension Headaches?

A tension headache can be recognized by specific sensations. Commonly described symptoms include:

  • A relentless ache on both sides of the head
  • Contraction of the head
  • Pressure behind the eyes
  • Tightened neck muscles

What Are Some Causes of Tension Headaches?

This common complaint can be attributed to a number of different potential causes, and so it can take some thorough self-awareness to know which one - or several - might be the reason for your individual case. Frequently seen causes are:

  • Being overheated
  • Excessive noise
  • Strong smells
  • Dehydration
  • Bright light
  • Tiredness

Another, often overlooked cause of tension headaches is stress. Many of us don't realize that emotions such as anxiety and distress can have physical repercussions - a very common one being a headache.

What Are the Best Tension Headache Treatments?

Generally, tension type headaches are not so severe that they cannot be quickly treated with over-the-counter pain medication such as acetaminophens or ibuprofen. There are, however, other natural options and lifestyle habits that can reduce tension headaches successfully:

  • Application of hot or cold pack. Depending on your own receptiveness to temperature, holding a hot or cold item to your forehead or neck can help.   

  • Massage. Particularly for headaches caused by stress, relaxation techniques such as massage can be successful for alleviating pain.

  • Drink water. Consuming more water can sometimes help to relieve tension headaches, not only if caused by dehydration but also heat and tiredness.

  • Peppermint oil. Many women find that rubbing a few drops of this essential oil on the forehead or temples can provide effective pain relief from tension headaches.

Tension headaches can affect women at any time, and are likely to be experienced by all of us at some time or another. Because of their prevalence; however, there is much information and research relating to this condition. This also means that a number of treatments have been developed, and so you are sure to find a suitable option that works for you.

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