The most common type of a headache experienced by almost everyone is a tension headache. The pain is usually across the locations of the forehead, they can also be felt behind the eyes and into the neck. Although the exact cause is unknown, there are multiple common circumstances sufferers often share. There are a variety of treatments available, many of which can be remedied at home without a doctor present.
Tension Headache Symptoms
Tension headaches cause a dull, aching pain usually ranging from mild to moderate. The pain can be nagging, lasting from a few hours to a couple weeks. Although the pain is somewhat bearable, it can still be difficult to focus on tasks and maintain your regular lifestyle. Sufferers often cite having to close their eyes and rest in a dark room, especially when the pain is centralized behind the eyes.
Although the specific cause is unknown, most sufferers share similar factors. First, lifestyle habits can attribute to head tension. Habits can range from excessive smoking, excessive alcohol drinking, and being sleep deprived. A second cause can be from straining the eyes. If you have sub-par eyesight, not using adequate eye wear can result in your eyes tensing to see properly which leads to a headache. A third cause can be the environment; inhaling strong chemicals in the air or air pollution, listening to loud music, or trying to see without enough light. Clearly, there are many possible causes.
Tension Headaches Compared to Other Headaches
Some people confuse a tension headache with other types of headaches, like migraines and caffeine headaches. Migraines can sometimes start as a dull, tension-like pain, but will usually progress to a sharper more intense pain. Nausea and vomiting also accompany migraines, but not tension headaches. Cluster headaches are like a tension headache in that they are both somewhat caused by lifestyle choices, like drinking and smoking, and can also be located near the eyes. However, cluster headaches will often increase in pain level and tend to come and go in clusters of days. They may also require more intense medication from a doctor. These types of headaches are relatively stagnant at their pain level and can be treated at home.
The treatment can vary. Changing your lifestyle habits can help; drinking more water, less alcohol, and quitting smoking. Ensuring you are breathing in clean air with an air purifier can be beneficial. It’s also recommended to get your eyes checked by an optician to prevent straining your eyes to see. Getting enough sleep is crucial to making sure your body can function pain-free.
If you are unable to treat your tension headache with medication or by changing your lifestyle and environment, it is recommended to see a physician who can assess the pain and provide treatment.