The tension headache is what most people refer to when they say they have a headache. It is the most common headache experienced. Some people actually have chronic tension headaches, which means the tension headaches occur often. The tension headache is usually mild or moderate but can be severe. The pain of a tension headache is not localized and occurs over a wide part or all of the head.
The tension headache can be episodic or chronic. Episodic tension headaches occur for a few hours at certain times such as under very stressful conditions, at work near the end of the day, or when being subjected to Hannah Montana TV show marathons. If the condition that causes the headache cannot be changed, such as skipping work, then you need to manage the condition to lessen the severity or length of the headache. If they occur only while at work, then check the ergonomics of your desk and take breaks to walk around at least once an hour.
Tension headaches are termed chronic when they occur more than fifteen times a month, for at least three months. The chronic tension headache can even be continuous with no beginning or ending during the day. Some people may not even realize they have a chronic headache because they have become accustomed to the chronic daily pain.
It can be quite difficult to find the cause of a chronic tension headache. Headaches may be caused by medication, medical conditions such as depression, allergies (especially food allergies), bad posture, stress, lack of sleep, lack of or too much caffeine, change of routine, lack of sleep, dieting, lack of exercise, hormones and even overuse of pain medication to treat these headaches.
According to doctors of chiropractic medicine, tension headaches are caused by muscle inflammation and trigger points, joint irritation, nerve compression, and misalignment of the spine. Studies have shown that the frequency, duration and severity of the tension headache can be decreased by receiving chiropractic treatments. Many patients have initially gone to a chiropractor for another reason such as back pain, and were pleasantly surprised to find that their tension headaches were reduced or completely eliminated as well.
Keeping in good physical shape by exercising and stretching daily will help control and prevent a tension headache. Stretching disciplines such as yoga and tai chi will loosen up tight muscles that can cause tension headaches. Getting regular massages will also help loosen tight muscles and keep them loose which will also prevent a tension headache. If stress is a suspected cause then keeping a daily journal especially right before bedtime will help reduce stress.
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