Identifying and Preventing Tension Headaches

By Annette GallagherOctober 21, 2013No Comments

Tension headaches are the most frequently experienced type of headache and they occur for a number of reasons. Even though the pain is not as severe as that brought on by migraine, it still typically impacts the whole head.

It may begin in the back of the head and above the eyebrows, leading to a mild, throbbing pain. It is often short-lived and is generally episodic that occurs once or twice a month. Sometimes, however, it can turn chronic where the pain lasts for more than 15 days per month.

Tension Headache, What Brings It On?

Almost 80 percent of people suffer from tension headaches at some point or the other but they are known to afflict twice as many women as men. There are numerous reasons that trigger a tension headache. As the name suggests, environmental or internal, anxiety, stress or tension of any kind bring it on. Here are some common triggers:

  • lack of sleep
  • skipping meals
  • staring at a computer for a long time
  • uncomfortably cold temperatures
  • variety of foods
  • fatigue
  • poor posture
  • emotional stress
  • smoking

People suffering from poor health are more likely to be anxious, leading to more frequent episodes of tension headaches. All the same, there are several external causes that lead to stress.

  • having problems at home
  • dealing with a newborn child’s routine (or lack of it!)
  • starting a new job
  • preparing for an exam
  • tackling stressful deadlines at work
  • losing a job
  • being lonely

Putting Your Tension Behind You

Tension headaches are normally brought on due to muscle contractions, hence, relaxation exercises are useful. Stress management techniques are also an effective way of helping to decrease a headache. Rubbing one’s temples, deep breathing and meditation can help relieve pain. Maintaining a good lifestyle overall also goes a long way in evading the common triggers. If you find your headaches recurring too often, keep a diary and closely watch out for foods and other environmental factors that trigger them.

Normally, medication does work well for tension headaches, but a high dependence on pain medication can lead to rebound headaches. There are also a number of physical and behavioral therapies that can ease tension headaches such as stress management counseling, relaxation therapy, calming music, massages, hot and cold therapy, ultrasounds and electrical muscle stimulation.

At the New Jersey Headache Institute, we have worked closely with many patients suffering from tension headaches and helped them with lasting solutions. Our expert team of doctors bring a wealth of experience and knowledge in the field and can help you successfully rid yourself of that nagging headache. Call our specialist consultation team today at 908.315.5707 or use our contact form to book a consultation and end your tension headaches.

Dr. Payman Sadeghi is the co-founder of the New Jersey Headache Institute. He studied medicine at Nordestana University and finished his Internal Medicine internship and Neurology residency at the University of Texas. Dr. Sadeghi has completed an electromyography super fellowship as well as many epilepsy and neuroimaging fellowships. At his residency in Neurology at the University of Texas Medical Branch Dr. Sadeghi gained extensive experience diagnosing and treating headache and migraine patients. That residency, along with Dr. Sadeghi’s medical curiosity and his varied clinical experience, has made him a specialist in headaches and their treatment.

Dr. Sadeghi was also a clinical assistant professor during his time at the University of Texas. He is a member of the American Headache Society, the National Headache Foundation and the American Academy of Neurology. Dr. Sadeghi is fluent in English, Spanish, French and Persian.