Tension headache is a frequent pathology in the population, which, in many cases, arises as a consequence of emotional stress. This pathology can be disabling for the patient; therefore, it is especially important to go to a specialist who makes a correct diagnosis.
What is a tension headache?
Tension headache is a very common pathology among the population, especially among adolescents and adults aged between 30 and 50 years. A common headache that appears especially localized to the head, neck or scalp is known as headache.
Causes of tension headaches
The causes of tension headache are very varied depending on the reason that causes its appearance. It is very common for it to appear as a result of neck or cervical muscle contractions or injuries. In addition, it can be related to an increase in ocular tension or to TMJ pathologies, for example, bruxism.
It is common for it to appear in chronic sinusitis patients, which is inflammation of the paranasal sinuses.
In addition, tension headache is a pathology linked to physical and emotional stress. It is common for patients with psychological disorders to present a medical picture of tension headache.
Types of tension headache
Depending on the symptoms that the patient presents and the location of the pain, different types of headaches are distinguished. First, primary headaches are differentiated, which are headaches, usually caused by tension.
On the other hand, there are secondary headaches, which arise as a consequence of another pathology. For example, headaches that arise as a result of sinusitis.
Migraines are a type of headache, characterized by constant headaches, which worsens with physical performance and periods of stress.
Also, thunder headache is differentiated, which usually appears in patients with cranial hypertension or as a consequence of infectious diseases. Rebound headaches arise as a side effect of medications to treat other pathologies.
Cluster headaches, usually appear in the form of outbreaks of different duration and are usually related to stress and the consumption of alcohol and tobacco.
The most characteristic symptom of headaches is severe pain that spreads over the head and face. Patients often experience pain in the eye sockets as well as the temples. Pain is water and can be very disabling for the patient.
The pain caused by headaches can be constant or appear in outbreaks. Normally, it usually appears after overexertion and is relieved in periods of rest.
Diagnosis of headaches
Once the patient comes showing symptoms, different diagnostic tests will be carried out to make a diagnosis and apply the most appropriate treatment. First, a blood test will be performed, which will provide information on the general condition of the patient.
In most cases, additional tests, such as X-rays or MRIs, are usually necessary. Some patients undergo a CT scan or brain scan, in order to rule out more serious pathologies, such as brain tumours, that may be causing the pain.
Treatments for headaches
Once a correct diagnosis has been made, the specialist will work out the most appropriate treatment for the patient. In the first place, immediate effect medications will be prescribed, such as analgesics, triptans and narcotics, with the aim of alleviating the pain that the patient experiences in outbreaks or crises.
In addition, in the case of headaches, preventive treatment acquires special importance, that is, one that helps prevent and stop outbreaks of pain. In this case, a treatment based on anticonvulsants and muscle relaxants will be given.
There are different treatments that can help treat headaches. For example, acupuncture or hypnosis. In recent years, cognitive-behavioural therapy is being introduced to treat this pathology, through which the patient takes control of his thoughts and emotions, learning to manage pain through them.
Prevention of tension headaches
In some cases, tension headaches are unavoidable and appear untimely. However, there are certain guidelines that can help patients manage and prevent pain flare-ups. In the first place, it is especially important to acquire routines and schedules.
Food plays an important role. Therefore, it is recommended that the patient follow a balanced diet, and avoid the consumption of certain foods, such as cheese, chocolate and exciting drinks.
It is also recommended to perform low-impact exercise constantly, which helps to release tension. In addition, it can be useful to practice relaxation techniques or disciplines such as Pilates or yoga.
Home remedies to relieve tension headaches
There are certain remedies that, at times when the patient is going through an outbreak of pain, can help control and relieve it. First of all, applying cold to the forehead is recommended.
In addition, the application of essential oils and the consumption of infusions, such as chamomile, which help muscle relaxation, may be beneficial. Including anti-inflammatory foods, such as ginger, in the diet can significantly relieve pain.
As explained, tension headaches can significantly affect the quality of life of the patient. Therefore, it is especially important to follow preventive treatment and respect certain guidelines that help control it.