I used to think that people who had tension headaches were the lucky ones when I suffered from debilitating migraine headaches. Then, I found out most of my triggers. I hardly ever have a migraine headache anymore. I know people who suffer from tension headaches on a regular basis and, let me tell you, I don’t envy them anymore.
First of all, what is a typical tension (tension-like) headache like? It is a mild to moderate headache of a dull, achy quality. People often describe it as a tight band around their head. Pain is felt at the forehead, the temples and back of their head. It gets worse during the afternoon or early evening. The pain is usually bilateral (felt on both sides of the head). Aspirin or any other NSAIDs (ibuprofen, naproxen sodium etc) seem to relieve it. Physical activity does not seem to make them worse. They usually disappear overnight, but some may last days. If your headaches happens for at least 15 days every month in a three month period, your headache is considered as chronic.
Unfortunately, conditions do not read the instruction manual. So, some tension headaches tend to be misdiagnosed as migraines because they might be accompanied by photophobia (sensitivity to light) and nausea. Some might be very severe and disabling as well. There is a growing group of researchers who believe that these headaches might represent part of a headache continuum. So before you scream migraine, rule out the possibility of your headache being a tension headache. Why? Simple behavioral modifications can help them tremendously and even wipe them out of your life.
Again, focus and determination are key in this fight. If you read my last post about the importance of attitude and few things to do for every type of headache, I will recommend you go back and read it: https://nuchiro.wordpress.com/2011/05/20/are-you-serious-about-getting-rid-of-your-headaches/ . After you have read it, you will be ready to implement some of my suggestions to fight tension headaches.