Chronic headaches

The normal headaches are often referred by the people as tension headaches or stress headaches. Basically, the medical term for these kinds of headaches is tension-type headaches. These kinds of headaches are different to migraine headaches, which typically involve pain on only one side of the head and are often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, severe sensitivity to light and visual disturbance. It has been estimated that beyond 95% of the population suffer from occasional tension-type headaches. Even so, very slight is known about the precise causes. Mental or muscular tension is usually associated with these headaches, but does not necessarily cause them. They are most universal in women and in people with a family history of headaches.

Other factors affecting the headaches

Additional factors that make people more likely to have tension-type headaches have been identified as emotional or psychological problems such as depression, anxiety or stress, certain muscular disorders and poor posture, and the over-use of headache relieving medication. Occasional headaches are referred to as episodic headaches. They can last from half an hour to a week and may be brought on by obvious factors such as overwork, emotional upset or the approach of a menstrual period. When the headaches are prolonged or very frequent, they are referred to as chronic. About three percent of the people suffer from this type of headache - some have a headache nearly every day and this can go on for years. Individuals who suffer from this kind of persistent headache often fear that there may be a serious underlying cause such as brain tumor, but it is extremely unlikely that this is the case. Some people are prone to both tension-type headaches and migraines. Each condition may require individual treatment.


For many of the people, headaches get better on their own and no treatment is required. Occasional, mild headaches can also be treated successfully by simple over-the-counter pain relievers such as paracetamol, aspirin and ibuprofen. Pain relievers that contain caffeine and codeine are best avoided for regular use, as these are more likely to cause dependence and over-use. People who get chronic headaches may need to avoid analgesics altogether. The preferred approach to managing chronic headache is to use preventive medication. As for example, the anti-depressant drug amitriptyline has been shown to help prevent some chronic headaches when taken in small doses before going to bed every night.

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Headache Types
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