A tension headache is something you don’t want to experience. It’s been described by many as a vise-like or band-like pain that seems to envelop the head, usually around the forehead to the back. To relieve such pain, seeking medical attention at a reputable facility is usually the solution. For example, American Family Care Franchisor is a walk in clinic that offers treatment for persistent tension headaches.
Causes of Tension Headaches
The exact cause of tension headaches remains unclear. However, several things have been attributed to it. A lot of the causative factors have to do with lifestyle choices.
Stress is one of the main things believed to cause tension headaches. Modern life is such that many people seem to be in a constant state of haste. From the moment people get up in the morning, it seems like there’s an endless list of things to do. This, along with life challenges and repetitive things, is believed to be a major cause of tension headaches.
If you have stress due to work or family issues, it may drain you emotionally. Add to this the fact that many daily activities may involve doing repetitive tasks for prolonged periods. All these lead to tension building in the body, particularly in the neck and shoulders. This kind of stress can gradually find its way to the skull, generating the kind of debilitating pain that can seem to envelop your head.
A lot of the repetitive activities that contribute to this pain are associated with things like:
i) Working on a laptop or computer for several hours on end.
ii) Playing video games for long hours
iii) Constantly looking at a phone screen
iv) Driving for hours
v) Prolonged periods of inactivity like sitting in an office chair for hours.
In addition to the above, things like sleeping on your stomach at night, tight clenching of the jaw, skipping meals, and not drinking enough water can all contribute to tension.
Occasionally, dental problems like grinding your teeth can also be an initiating factor.
Management of Tension Headache
There are several options for dealing with tension headaches. These include:
A lot of the issues that have been implicated in the development of tension headaches can be addressed by making some modifications to one’s daily routines. For instance, ensuring that you go to bed on time each night means getting enough sleep, thereby avoiding instances of inadequate sleep, which can lead to tension headaches. Drinking enough water daily helps avoid dehydration, which may trigger tension headaches. Eating meals on time prevents hunger which can also be a trigger.
Over-the-counter painkillers can be effective at dealing with tension headaches. However, they should use them with caution. Ironically, prolonged painkiller use can lead to “rebound” headaches. This is when an individual taking such drugs for a long time suddenly stops them. In addition to such side effects, many painkillers are dangerous for the liver if taken for long.
If painkillers fail, it may be time to seek medical advice. A healthcare professional will prescribe other kinds of drugs if over-the-counter pain medications have failed to suppress or relieve the tension headache. Such drugs may include:
iii) Tricyclic antidepressants like amitriptyline
In rare cases, a muscle relaxant can also be prescribed to combat the tension headache.
This is when fine needles are used to pierce specific points on the human body. This type of alternative therapy helps to relieve tension, thereby lowering the built-up stress in the body, which is beneficial for dealing with tension headaches.
4) Seeking Dental Attention
Sometimes, it could be an issue with your temporomandibular joint (TMJ). For instance, bruxism is a serious issue in some children and adults. It is the clenching of the jaw and the grinding of teeth. This is usually when an individual is asleep, although bruxism occurs when one is awake. Bruxism could be the cause of tension headaches. A dental professional can be able to address such an issue, thereby relieving the tension headache.
5) Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
This type of therapy helps an individual recognize the situations that may cause stress and anxiety while teaching them how to effectively deal with them to manage the pain of tension headaches.
All in all, something as simple as managing life’s daily stresses can significantly help control tension headaches.