Causes and symptoms of a tension headache

Tension headaches can cause muscle pain near the head and neck area. Although tension headaches can be mild to moderate, they can happen daily, making medication, an unhealthy option.

The main cause of tension headaches is due to foods, activities, and stressors. Some people can suffer a tension headache by staring at a computer screen, while others may get a tension headache due to driving in traffic for long periods of time. Some tension headaches can be due to alcohol, eye strain, fatigue, caffeine, emotional stress or smoking.

Most tension headaches will start with a dull forehead pain followed by pressure. You can also experience tenderness around the forehead and scalp. Sometimes a tension headache can be confused with a migraine and can be followed by nausea and vomiting.

Most often over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications, such as ibuprofen or aspirin, can relieve you of pain for the time being. However, since tension headaches can occur often, it is best to understand why you are experiencing your headache.

Start by noting down when you get your headache and the level of pain from 1-5. Write down the reasons you think you may be getting the headache, for example, you lacked sleep, was stressed or had not eaten on time. Look at your information and identify patterns of behavior that can be changed. Start by changing your lifestyle in these areas for at least three weeks before seeing your GP.