As the most common type of headache, you’ve probably experienced the pain of a tension headache before. Just because it’s common doesn’t make it easy to deal with. You may feel a pressure like a tight band around your head, and it can become very painful. Therefore, it’s important to treat tension headaches before they start to affect your life. You can manage the pain you experience with a variety of solutions.
Of course, when you have a tension headache, you might experience a dull ache in your head. But that’s not the only symptom you should look out for. You may also feel pressure either on your forehead or the sides of your head. It’s also common for the pain and tightness to stretch to the neck, shoulders, and even down the back. If the headache becomes severe, it can impair your quality of life.
Episodic vs. Chronic
Episodic tension headaches can last anywhere from 30 minutes up to a week. If you tend to get tension headaches every once in a while, you are experiencing episodic headaches. However, tension headaches can become more frequent and severe, resulting in chronic tension headaches. This condition is more difficult to handle, as you may experience pain 15 or more days a month.
Are Tension Headaches and Migraines the Same Thing?
While tension headaches and migraines are related, they are not the same condition. However, sufferers from frequent tension headaches are liable to suffering from both issues. While both migraines and tension headaches can result in a lot of pain, tension headaches lack the nausea, vomiting, and visual disturbances that go hand in hand with migraines. Also, migraines can be made worse by physical activity, unlike tension headaches. Both conditions may result in sensitivity to light or sound, but this symptom is significantly more common in those who suffer from migraines.
Should You Seek Help?
Occasional tension headaches probably won’t impact your life too much, and you can generally deal with them on your own without seeing a doctor. However, if you have frequent, chronic, or very painful tension headaches, you should consult a professional. You shouldn’t have to suffer from debilitating pain, and there are treatment options out there that can help you feel your best.
Generally, doctors will suggest a combination of treatment options to reduce the frequency and severity of your tension headaches. First, you might be advised to make some lifestyle changes. These include reducing stress, getting more exercise, and eating a healthier diet. There are also a wide variety of nondrug treatments that can offer you some relief. If both of these options are ineffective, your doctor might suggest or prescribe medication that can reduce your level of pain. That way, you can get back to your life without being plagued by headaches.
At Prime Medical Associates in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, we want to help you overcome your tension headaches. If you suffer from head and neck pain, schedule an appointment with us. We can help you find solutions to your condition, so you are free to experience life to its fullest.