Jonathan Aarons M.D.

Tired of Chronic Pain?

Tension Headache

Tension Headache
Tension Headache is a common cause of headache for which a patient will seek treatment

There are many different kinds of headaches.  One of the most common is the tension headache.  Tension headache is also known as muscle contraction headache although it may or may not be related to contraction of the muscle.  It is usually described as a band-like ache around the frontal, temporal or occipital area.  It is often associated with sleep disturbance and depression.  This type of headache is often stress related.  It usually evolves over a period of hours and remains constant.  Unlike migraine headache, there is no aura associated with it.  It has no gender preference and no hereditary pattern.  There is no specific test for tension headache but other serious causes of headache such as intracranial pathology, sinusitis and temporal arteritis must be excluded.  A MRI of the brain, head and sinuses may be necessary.  Laboratory studies to check for inflammatory conditions is useful.  Treatment of tension headache usually begins with non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs).  Narcotics are not recommended due to their potential for dependence and abuse.  Chronic headache can be treated with prophylactic medications such as anti-depressants or alternative modalities such as relaxation techniques or biofeedback.

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