What Does It Feel Like When You Have A Tension Headache?

Tension headaches are the most common type of headache, as per Mayo Clinic. There are two kinds of tension headaches: episodic and chronic. Episodic tension headaches can last anywhere from 30 minutes to several days, but they don't happen very often (usually less than 15 days per month in a three-month span). On the other hand, the pain associated with chronic tension headaches is described as constant and can last for several hours. These types of headaches generally also occur more than 15 days a month for at least three months.

While there is no way to know just how many people have tension headaches, experts think the number could be as high as two out of every three adults, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Unfortunately, experts don't know what exactly causes these kinds of headaches. That said, many think that tight muscles in the back of your head or neck may contribute to them. Other causes thought to be associated with them are eye strain, trouble getting a good night's rest, stress, and other kinds of pain in your head and neck.

Tension headaches are different from migraines

While experiencing a tension headache, it might feel like you have a band pulled tight around the top of your head, resulting in a dull ache across your forehead and on both sides of your head, per the Mayo Clinic. In addition, your scalp, neck, and shoulders may be tender. Tension headache pain doesn't increase gradually with exercise. In fact, that's one way that they differ from migraines. Moreover, tension headaches aren't usually severe, and rarely make you nauseous, throw up, or be sensitive to light, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.

For most people, tension headaches go away when you take an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen (via Cleveland Clinic). However, you can also try hot or cold compresses on areas that hurt. Other ways to deal with pain could include meditation and relaxation techniques. It's best to seek medical attention if you experience a sudden severe headache, confusion, slurred speech, or a persistent fever with head pain.