What Are Tension Headaches?

Headaches are one of the most common occurrences in the adult population in North America and probably in the world. That probably isn’t a surprise considering how much stress and overworked we are. Headaches have an enormous impact on society due to missed workdays and the loss of productivity when one is dealing with the pain, resulting in huge costs over time for any employer.

“Headache” is usually described as an aching or pain that occurs in one or more areas of the head, face, mouth, or neck. Headaches can have many causes, but serious causes of headaches are rare, however, anyone suffering with a pattern of headaches should pay particular caution that the pattern does not change or become more frequent. This could signal the possibility of a more serious issue. A headache that becomes worse over time, say in a period of 6 months or possibly less depending on the severity of symptoms, especially if most prominent in the morning or if accompanied by neurological symptoms would warrant a call to your physician.

A headache can be a primary disorder, as in migraine or cluster headaches. It may be a common symptom associated with head injury or many illnesses such as acute infection, brain tumor or abscess, eye disorders such as glaucoma, dental disease, and hypertension. Headaches can be chronic, recurrent, or occasional.

Perhaps you have heard of a “tension headache”. What exactly does that mean? Believe it or not, the most common type of headache is a tension headache. Tension headaches are the most common type of primary headache; as many as 90% of adults have had or will have tension headaches sometime in their lives. Up to 90% of all people who complain of chronic or frequent headaches suffer from a tension headache. This type is more common among women than men, but while perhaps they feel it at times, they are not life-threatening. Tension headaches are brought on due to tight muscles in your shoulders, neck, scalp and jaw. Tensions headaches can be brought on from working too much, not getting enough sleep, missing meals or improper eating habits, or from the use of alcohol.

Headaches can be triggered by chocolate, cheese, and monosodium glutamate (MSG). They can also occur if you have a cold, the flu, fever, or premenstrual syndrome, along with a host of other conditions.

Headaches are one of the most common and universal human ailments. They have been documented in ancient medical writings from Egypt, Greece, Rome, and other countries. They have even been mentioned in the Bible. There seems there is no “fast cure” or “permanent cure”, either for this very common nuisance that occurs are one time or another for every person, with some people unfortunately being forced to live with them every second of their lives.

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