Tension-Type Headache

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tension-type headache is one of the most common types of recurring headache, affecting 69 percent of men and 88 percent of women. Although it is commonly called tension headache or contraction headache, muscle tightness is not a cause. Dr. Edward Hill tells us more about tension headaches in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

There are two forms of tension-type headaches. The episodic form occurs on fewer than 15 days per month. The chronic form occurs on 15 or more days per month.

The cause of tension-type headache is uncertain. It may be associated with contraction of muscles in the neck and head and the triggers of tension-type headache may include poor posture, such as from prolonged computer use or sleeping in an unusual position, smoking, fatigue and stress. Sometimes, a tender point is present at the neck and scalp.

Tension-type headache is defined by the absence of features of a migraine. Headaches typically last from 30 minutes to seven days.

Treatment may include over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and analgesics such as acetaminophen. Behavioral therapies, such as meditation, biofeedback or yoga and stretching and relaxation exercises may also help.

Tension-type headache is harmless and in most cases is easy to control with proper treatment. It is seldom severe or disabling and generally does not interfere with normal quality of life and work.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.