Definition

[1]
A tension headache (or tension-type headache) is a generalised episodic or chronic headache that patients describe as feeling like a "tight-band" is around their head. It is not often associated with other symptoms.

Prevalence

[2]
At least 40% of people experience tension headaches at some point

Age

20-40

Gender

1.5 times more common in females

Risk Factors

[3]

Signs and Symptoms

[4]

Pathophysiology

[5]
It is thought that tension headaches are a result of trigeminal nerve sensitisation and central hypersensitivity.

Investigations

[6]
None (but imaging can rule out other causes)

Diagnosis

[7]
Diagnosis is made clinically

Differentials to rule out

Treatment

[8]

Non-Pharmacological

  • Relaxation techniques
  • Acupuncture
  • Spinal manipulation

Pharmacological

Management

[9]
Follow up is only required if patients need it. Response to treatment and frequency of attacks should be noted at each visit.

Complications

[10]
None

Prognosis

[11]
Tension headaches are usually self-limiting and respond well to treatment.

See Also

BMJ Best Practice - Tension-type headache
Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine - 9th edition p460
  1. ^ http://bestpractice.bmj.com.ezp.lib.unimelb.edu.au/best-practice/monograph/12.html
  2. ^ http://bestpractice.bmj.com.ezp.lib.unimelb.edu.au/best-practice/monograph/12.html
  3. ^ http://bestpractice.bmj.com.ezp.lib.unimelb.edu.au/best-practice/monograph/12.html
  4. ^ http://bestpractice.bmj.com.ezp.lib.unimelb.edu.au/best-practice/monograph/12.html
  5. ^ http://bestpractice.bmj.com.ezp.lib.unimelb.edu.au/best-practice/monograph/12.html
  6. ^ http://bestpractice.bmj.com.ezp.lib.unimelb.edu.au/best-practice/monograph/12.html
  7. ^ http://bestpractice.bmj.com.ezp.lib.unimelb.edu.au/best-practice/monograph/12.html
  8. ^ http://bestpractice.bmj.com.ezp.lib.unimelb.edu.au/best-practice/monograph/12.html
  9. ^ http://bestpractice.bmj.com.ezp.lib.unimelb.edu.au/best-practice/monograph/12.html
  10. ^ http://bestpractice.bmj.com.ezp.lib.unimelb.edu.au/best-practice/monograph/12.html
  11. ^ http://bestpractice.bmj.com.ezp.lib.unimelb.edu.au/best-practice/monograph/12.html