Tension Headaches: Signs and Symptoms


Tension headache is the word used to describe chronic headaches that cause a tight, band-like pain. This is the most common type of headache, afflicting 88 percent in women and 68 percent in men. Tension headaches account for nearly half of all headaches, according to a study done in 2007 in Cephalagia (head pain). Researchers have estimated that more people suffer from tension headache than a migraine. A tension headache is a mild to moderate steady pain, tightness or pressure around the head and neck. These headaches may be provoked by the stress and frustrations of everyday life, eyestrain, or poor posture. The causes include muscle contractions or changes in brain chemicals. In 2006 and 2007, several studies presented the theory that tension headaches may be caused by myofascial trigger points in the shoulders and neck and poor head posture.

Some researchers suggest that tension headaches may be related to fibromyalgia, a condition that is also characterized by myofascial pain. When tension headaches occur on a daily or almost daily basis, they are called chronic daily headaches. Sometimes other symptoms appear with these headaches like fatigue, sleep disturbances, and depression. Tension and migraine headaches can and often do occur together, and many doctors believe that the two types of headaches are caused by the same.