You've heard it before, and you'll hear it again and again. Tension headaches are among the most common minor health problems. It is estimated that more than 95% of people will suffer from a headache during their lifetime. Tension headaches account for 90% of all headaches, and although they can occur in people of all ages, they usually begin in early adulthood or later.
Many researchers believe that a tension headache can result when the head, neck or face muscles contract but do not relax. They remain tense or continue to spasm. This compresses blood vessels in the affected muscles and reduces the blood supply there. The resulting pain feels like a squeezing, aching pressure at the temples, across the upper forehead, in the face or in the back of the neck.
Tension headaches typically last several hours to days and usually are mildly to moderately painful. If you have a very painful headache that persists on and off for several days, or even weeks, consult your physician.
You can beat headaches!
Physical, psychological and environmental factors all play a role in headache pain, and we do have some control over them. You should exercise, get adequate rest, correct bad physical habits, and avoid substances in your diet and surroundings that can trigger a headache. These measures, along with relaxation, can help you safely reduce the occurrence of, and perhaps prevent, a headache. And taking a pain reliever like Advil® can alleviate your tension headaches.
Causes of tension headache and how to reduce or prevent pain
There are several underlying factors that contribute to tension headaches. The most common factors fit into three categories: physical, psychological and environmental. Recognizing what triggers your headaches is the first step in reducing or preventing pain.