Tension headaches are those that make your head feel like it’s in a vice, or have a tightening c-clamp around the neck. This is the most common type. A primary headache is one without an underlying cause, such as a brain tumor. These headaches can be characterized by muscle tenderness. They can cause soreness in the neck and shoulders, arms, face, forehead, and base of the skull.
These are those headaches that make your hair hurt. This type of headache can cause you to clench the teeth which may make it worse rather than help it go away. They can also attack your head from both sides simultaneously. There are two types of tension headaches. The episodic type is a recurring headache that lasts from half an hour to one week. They usually occur less frequently than 15 times per month and respond well to pain relievers such as acetaminophin, aspirin, and ibuprofen. The chronic type is one that occurs more often than 15 times per month.
These can have many of the same symptoms as episodic headaches, but they can also cause nausea, vomiting, and/or sensitivity towards light and noise. Chronic tension headaches are often resistant to medication. Current estimates suggest that between 75% and 90% of chronic headache sufferers have tension headaches.
Some doctors believe they share many of the same characteristics as migraines, so they are often mistaken for the same type of headache. Both migraines and chronic headaches are more common in women than in men. Migraines usually begin after the age of 10, and disappear during middle age. Chronic headaches, however, typically start in mid-life. Chronic tension headache sufferers report feeling their head pulsating with pain, similar to the migraine sufferer. This is a tension-vascular headache. However, doctors refer to it as a migraine-like headache.
Over-the-counter medication can cause tension headaches. It is important to not use too much. People have reported some success with alternative therapies like massage, acupuncture and biofeedback to relieve tension headaches. Psychotherapy is often effective in relieving headaches caused by anxiety and stress from the environment.