Tension Headache – Causes and Treatment Options

A tension headache is a common headache caused by knots in your muscles called trigger points. These trigger points are part of the myofascial tissue that covers all bones and organs in the body. It is similar to migraine in its symptoms and causes but is usually not associated with aura or nausea. It may also be accompanied by photophobia and phonophobia.


If you’re experiencing tension headaches regularly, it’s a good idea to see a doctor for a proper diagnosis. Your doctor can run a series of tests to ensure you don’t have any severe underlying medical conditions. These tests can include an X-Ray, MRI, or CT Scan.

You may not need further testing if your headaches are mild and sporadic. However, a health care provider should evaluate a persistent headache, cruciating, or interferes with your daily activities. Pressure tests and neurological examinations can help rule out conditions like severe hypertension, which may cause headaches.

Severe cases of tension headaches may be accompanied by nausea or vomiting. In rare cases, this headache can persist for days or months. Physiotherapy treatment may help to alleviate the pain and reduce the severity of the symptoms. Dizziness is another common symptom of tension headaches.


Many factors can trigger tension headaches. One of the significant causes is chronic stress. Stress can be related to work, family, or juggling many commitments. If you’ve been suffering from a tension headache, it might be a good idea to learn more about the cause and treatment options.

If your headaches are severe, you may need immediate medical attention. This is because severe headaches can impair your ability to work or play. They can even make it impossible for you to focus. In addition, a doctor will want to examine you for underlying health problems causing your headache.

Dehydration can also trigger headaches. Drinking plenty of water and eating regularly will help prevent this. Also, you should limit your intake of caffeinated beverages. Caffeine increases the stress level in your body and can trigger a tension headache. It’s also essential to get enough sleep. A lack of sleep can lead to chronic tension-type headaches.


If you are suffering from a tension headache, you may want to know what you can do to prevent it. There are several different methods that you can try, such as taking anticonvulsants or muscle relaxants. However, these methods can have adverse side effects, including pale or blue skin, depression, and fatigue. They also should not be used when pregnant. A natural way to prevent tension headaches is by practicing good posture and exercising your neck and shoulders.

A doctor may prescribe a medication such as amitriptyline to reduce the pain caused by tension headaches. It is also possible to try other medicines like gabapentin and topiramate, which are more commonly used to treat pain caused by inflamed nerves, or tizanidine, which is more appropriate for people at risk for muscle spasms.

Combination medications

Various combinations of a variety of medications are used to treat tension-type headaches. Among the most common are antidepressants and antihistamines. These medicines reduce the severity and frequency of headaches. Beta-blockers can also be used to treat chronic daily headaches. In addition, nonprescription pain relievers can be prescribed for mild to moderate pain.

However, it’s important to note that combination medications can have adverse effects if taken in large amounts. In addition, they can lead to dependency and overuse, so they should be used only when needed. For example, a single dose of acetaminophen should not exceed 3 grams daily.

There are also complementary therapies that may help treat tension headaches. However, not all of these treatments are proven to work. They may also have side effects and may not be suitable for pregnant women or people with underlying medical conditions. Consult your doctor or a complementary therapies practitioner to determine which therapies may be best for you.

Non-pharmacological treatments

There are many treatment options for tension headaches, including non-pharmacological approaches. Non-pharmacological treatments include relaxation, massage, cognitive behavioral, acupuncture, and physical therapy. While these treatments don’t cure the headache altogether, they can reduce the frequency and intensity of the headache. In severe cases, pharmacological medications may be prescribed.

The pain associated with tension headaches can vary in intensity. Some are sharp, stabbing, or dull. The location and function of the pain are also crucial in determining its severity. Non-pharmacological treatments may include pain-relieving exercises, supplements, or a combination of these methods.

Pharmacological treatments for tension headaches are also available. Taking tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline, has long been used to treat chronic tension headaches. However, these medications can cause side effects, including dry mouth and constipation. Anticonvulsants and muscle relaxants are also available.