Tension headaches are best described as a pressing or tightening pain, occurring on both sides of the head. These can range from mild to severe pain and have a duration up to several hours. Also known as stress headaches, tension headaches are very common - in fact, it's estimated that up to 70 percent of adults will have a tension headache in the next year. There are many causes of a tension headache, and the treatments often center around fixing those causes. Symptoms of a tension headache are fairly straightforward and easily identifiable by your physician. These include the type of pain - throbbing or sharp - and the location - around the head like a helmet or in a certain location.
Tension headaches can be described as either episodic or chronic. Episodic headaches are infrequent - between one and seven days per month, with a duration of 30 minutes to 4 days. These headaches are typically linked to an identifiable cause and don't occur in a regular pattern. Chronic tension headaches occur at least 15 days per month and may happen consistently for more than three months. They may be accompanied by mild nausea or either sensitivity to light or sound. The chronic headaches may last for hours and then fade, or the pain may be continuous. The difference between the two is the frequency and consistency that patients experience headaches, especially with accompanying sensitivities.
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