Tension headaches are the most common form of headaches. These headaches cause different types of pain, but the most common sensation is a dull pain that is present all over the head. The forehead may also feel tight, but other possible sensations such as sharp, constant and throbbing pain or tightness may also occur.
For many patients, the triggers of the headaches can be almost untraceable. Some of the most common reported triggers include stress or staring at a backlit screen. Others include the consumption or withdrawal symptoms of alcohol, caffeine or tobacco. If you experience more than fifteen headaches per month, your headaches are considered to be chronic.
A physician will collect a medical history from you and perform a physical examination to attempt to identify the pain’s origins. Keeping a journal of possible causes, symptoms and attempted treatments can help the doctor establish a diagnosis.
Treatments will focus on changing the patient’s environment to prevent headaches before they start. Over-the-counter or prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may relieve pain, but using them constantly over time can cause overuse headaches. Alternative therapies such as massage, acupuncture and biofeedback may be helpful strategies for managing a patient’s pain.