Tension Headache: Causes, Symptoms, And Ways How To Get Rid Of It

Tension headache is one of the most common types of headaches. Read on to know more about this particular headache, its symptoms, treatment, and prevention.

Woman suffering from headache

There are several types of headaches and the most common is the tension headache. This can result in mild, moderate, or intense pain around the head and neck region or behind the eyes. Some describe this headache as the feeling of a tight thin band around their head. They need to know how to get rid of a tension headache to alleviate their pain. People who go through this common headache often experience episodic headache which takes place once or twice a month.

Chronic headache is said to affect an estimated three percent of Americans and this includes episodes of headache that remain for about fifteen days each month. Women have twice the susceptibility of men to tension headaches. The symptoms of this tension headache include dull pain, forehead pressure, and tenderness. Sometimes doctors prefer to conduct some tests to rule out the occurrence of complex issues like a brain tumor.

Causes of tension headache

Tension Headache Causes

The contraction of muscles in the head or neck region causes tension headaches. These contractions are triggered by specific foods, stressors, and activities. Some people have this kind of headache after they have stared at the computer for long or after a long drive. This headache can also be triggered by cold temperatures. Other things can trigger tension headaches such as:

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Eyestrain
  • Smoking
  • Dry eyes
  • Fatigue
  • Poor posture
  • Cold, flu
  • Emotional stress
  • Sinusitis

Tension Headache Symptoms

The symptoms include a dull pain in the head, forehead pressure, and tenderness. The pain may be moderate or mild or it can be intense. You can mistake a tension headache for a migraine. Migraine is a severe kind of headache on either side of the head which causes serious pain. However, you can not find all of the migraine symptoms in tension headaches like vomiting and nausea. In some rare cases, increased sensitivity to loud noise and light was observed in tension headaches.

How To Get Rid Of Tension Headache

This kind of headache can be treated both naturally and with medical help.


There are available over the counter medications like aspirin and ibuprofen which chases away a tension headache. Note that these medications should not be abused, don’t use it too much.

Using this drug excessively might cause rebound headaches or overuse. These are the kinds of headache happens when the body becomes dependent on a particular education so much so that you feel pain as soon as the effect of the drugs subsides. 


There are situations when these drugs are not able to get rid of the recurring headache. What you do here is to consult a doctor for different education prescriptions like indomethacin, ketorolac, opiates, and naproxen. If it turns out that still, these painkillers are not effective then you may be advised to take a specific medication known as a muscle relaxant. This helps to stop the contraction of muscles. Antidepressant-like selective reuptake can also be prescribed. This inhibitor brings stability to the level of serotonin in your brain. It also helps you deal with stress

Here are some other treatments that could also be of help; 

  • Taking classes on stress management. This helps by teaching you different techniques for handling stress and relieving tension. 
  • Biofeedback. A technique for relaxation that illustrates ways of managing stress and pain. 
  • Therapy for cognitive behavior. BT is talk therapy that helps you recognize situations that cause you stress, anxiety, and tension.
  • Acupuncture. This therapy reduces tension and stress. It involves applying needles to certain parts of the body. 

Home Care

Practical ways that can also help to relieve your pain:

  • Apply an ice pack or a heating pad to the area of the pan and leave it there for five to ten minutes. Do this at frequent intervals each day. 
  • Taking a hot shower or bath can help relax the tensed up muscles.
  • Check your posture and improve it if need be.
  • Do not stare at the computer for long hours, take frequent breaks to avoid straining your eyes.

These techniques are only temporary, and the headache might still recur. Tension headaches are usually treatment responsive, and only on rare occasions does it result in long-term neurological damage. But the chronic form of this headache can lower the quality of your life. It may prevent you from taking part in some physical activities and so on. 

If you are experiencing severe symptoms then medical attention is needed currently. These severe symptoms may be slurring, high fever, and loss of balance. 


There is some supplemental that helps to ease tension headaches.there is a possibility of alternative medicines reacting with conventional medicine so it’s best to talk to your doctor before going on with this. These are some of the recommended supplements: butternut, feverfew, magnesium, coenzyme Q10, riboflavin


Since there are specific triggers that are responsible for tension headaches, one way of chasing this headache away for the long term might be in identifying its trigger. What exactly triggers your tension headache? 

You can start a diary on it to help determine the exact cause, what happened before the headache started, and so on. Also record your beverages, daily meals, occurrences, and activities that can stimulate stress. Keep track of the days this headache occurs. After doing this for a long period you can then connected dotted lines and see the cause of the headache. 

Knowing how to get rid of a tension headache and applying it will help you in the short term. But detecting the trigger and controlling it is even much better. 

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