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Do you suffer with tension headaches?

tension headaches

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The most common type of headache is a tension headache, we generally associate them with a normal daily headache. We may put the headache down to a stressful day at work and almost become used to having them. The majority of people are likely to have suffered from a tension headache at some point during their life.Do you suffer with tension headaches?Here are some questions and answers that may determine whether you are a sufferer.

What are tension headaches?

The effects of a tension headache may feel like a constant aching in both sides of your head, your neck muscles may feel tighter and you may feel pressure being felt directly behind the eyes. Tension headaches normally last from 1 hour up to 6 hours, but some sufferers could experience constant headaches that can last for days.

There is no clear cause why we suffer from these tension headaches but certain things can trigger them. Factors such as squinting, bright light and poor posture can contribute to tension headaches. Women are more likely to suffer tension headaches far more than men.

Who suffers from tension headaches? 

  • Tension headaches currently affect over 40% of the UK population.
  • Vast majorities of people suffer between 1 and 2 tension-type headaches every month, but they can occur more often, especially during times of stress.
  • Every day 3% of the population will suffer long-term headaches – these are classes as chronic headaches by doctors.

When to see your GP 

If you suffer headaches occasionally then there is usually no need to make an appointment, however, if you suffer with the following symptoms you should see your GP

  • Frequent or severe headaches
  • Headaches that suddenly occur and feel severe
  • Headaches followed by fever, nausea, vomiting, confusion and a stiff neck
  • Headaches following an accident or blow to your head
  • Headaches followed by numbness, weakness, confusion and slurred speech
tension headaches

In order to diagnose your headaches your GP may want to ask you questions regarding your diet, lifestyle and family history.

How to treat a tension headache 

These headaches aren’t life-threatening and can be eased by painkillers and changes to your lifestyle. To help with stress-related headaches you could benefit from relaxation techniques such as meditation and exercise. A simple hot flannel placed on your forehead or neck can also help to ease your suffering temporarily.  Painkillers such as Ibuprofen, Paracetamol can be taken, but it is important that pregnant women do not take Ibruprofen throughout their third trimester of pregnancy as it could pose a risk to the baby.

Medication shouldn’t be taken on a daily basis as it can cause withdrawal headaches and cause you further problems. If your headaches are daily then you should talk to your GP.

How to prevent them 

If you suffer from tension headaches frequently it may be a good idea to keep a diary to see if certain things set them off. Slight alterations to your diet and lifestyle can help as well as relaxation and regular exercise.




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