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Home :: Headache, Tension Or Vascular

Headache, Tension Or Vascular

It is estimated that 75% to 90% of all persons who complain of chronic or frequent headaches suffer from tension headaches. They are the most common type of primary headache, and while they share some characteristics with the more serious migraine, they also display certain distinct differences that set them apart.

Tension-type headaches are classified by the International Headache Society as chronic tension-type headaches when they occur for 15 days/month or more and  episodic tension-type headaches when less than 15 days/month.


  • Severe overexertion.
  • Tension, producing strain on muscles of the neck, scalp, face and jaw.
  • Sleep disturbances.
  • Excessive eating, drinking or smoking.
  • Anxiety or depression.
  • Sun glare.
  • Use of drugs or alcohol.
  • Low blood sugar.
  • Hormone changes during the menstrual cycle.
  • Allergic reactions.
  • Stress, either mental or physical.
  • Environments that are noisy, stuffy, hot, poorly lit, or have irritating odors.
  • Exposure to or consumption of nitrites, sulfites, monosodium glutamate or other food additives.

Signs and symptoms

Any of the following:

  • Moderate pain in the front or back of the accompanied by tight muscles in the neck or scalp.
  • Constant pain over the temples, accompanied by the feeling that a vise is over the back of the head.
  • Depression and anxiety (common).
  • Throbbing pain all over the head.
  • Mild sensitivity to light and noise (may occur in severe attacks)


  • no specific test
  • determined by symptoms, medical history and physical examination by doctor
  • a CT scan or MRI may be needed if constant pain or unusual symptoms.


Medical Treatment

  • Doctor's treatment, if headache persists or worsens despite self-care.
  • Biofeedback training, behavior-modification training or counseling.

Home Treatment

  • If possible, stop what you are doing and try to relax.
  • Massage shoulders, neck, jaw and scalp.
  • Take a hot bath or shower, and allow water to massage tense muscles.
  • Lie down. Place a warm or cold cloth, whichever feels better, over the aching area.

When headaches are severe, symptomatic treatment with aspirin, acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can be helpful. In such cases, care must be taken to avoid medication overuse, as this can lead to "rebound headaches." Due to potentially severe gastrointestinal and cardiovascular side effects , NSAIDs should only be used as instructed.

  • Get enough sleep-an average of 8 hours for 7 hours for women.
  • Don't skip meals, especially breakfast.
  • Don't overeat.
  • Exercise regularly to reduce tension and improve circulation. But don't exercise to the point of headache.
  • Don't smoke cigarettes, and avoid smoky environments.
  • Don't use mood-altering, mind-altering, stimulant or sedative drugs.
  • Avoid food that contain nitrites or other additives to which you are sensitive.

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Disclaimer: website is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. Always take the advice of professional health care for specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment. We will not be liable for any complications, or other medical accidents arising from the use of any information on this web site. Please note that medical information is constantly changing. Therefore some information may be out of date.