Get Emergency Care For Severe Extreme Headaches
Tension headaches can be uncomfortable and annoying, but they usually arent severe. If youre experiencing a severe headache , you should seek medical care as soon as possible.
Its especially important to contact a medical professional if you develop a severe headache that starts suddenly, if you vomit during a headache, if you have a high fever, or if you suddenly have difficulties speaking, moving, balancing or seeing clearly.
Medications And Home Care
You can start by drinking more water. You may be dehydrated and need to increase your water intake. Also, you should consider how much sleep youre getting.
Lack of sleep can lead to tension headaches, so be sure to get plenty of sleep. And make sure you dont skip any meals, since hunger can trigger headaches.
If none of those strategies work, then you can take over-the-counter pain medications, such as ibuprofen or aspirin, to get rid of a tension headache. However, these should only be used occasionally.
Using OTC medications too much may lead to overuse or rebound headaches. These types of headaches occur when you become so accustomed to a medication that you experience pain when it wears off.
OTC drugs are sometimes not enough to treat recurring tension headaches. In such cases, a healthcare professional may give you a prescription for medication, such as:
If pain relievers arent working, they may prescribe a muscle relaxant. This is a medication that helps stop muscle contractions.
A healthcare professional may also prescribe an antidepressant, such as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor . SSRIs can stabilize your brains levels of serotonin and can help you cope with stress.
They may also recommend other strategies, such as:
The following may also ease your tension headache:
- Apply a heating pad or ice pack to your head for 5 to 10 minutes several times a day.
- Take a hot bath or shower to relax tense muscles.
- any situations that trigger stress
Prophylaxis Of Frequent Headaches
A wide variety of prophylactic agents have been researched in the management of chronic tension-type headache, and comprehensive reviews are available for interested readers.19
Amitriptyline is the most researched of the prophylactic agents for chronic tension-type headache. It is typically used in doses of 10 to 75 mg, one to two hours before bedtime to minimize grogginess on awakening. Double-blind randomized controlled studies confirm its use in patients with chronic tension-type headache.20 Anticholinergic side effects and weight gain can limit its usefulness in some persons.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors cause fewer side effects, and several of these agents have shown their efficacy in the prophylaxis of chronic tension-type headache in small studies.21,22 One small study23 showed that 20 mg of citalopram had no beneficial effect on tension-type headache, while another small trial24 noted that amitriptyline and fluoxetine were equally effective in reducing the number of days with headache pain each month. The beneficial effect of fluoxetine only manifested after two months of treatment and was slightly inferior to the effect of amitriptyline.24
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How Are Tension Headaches Treated
The goal of treatment is to stop headaches from occurring. Good headache management depends on reducing stress and tension. Some suggestions include:
- Going to sleep and waking at the same time each day
- Exercising regularly each day for at least 30 minutes
- Eating regular meals without skipping any, especially breakfast
- Avoiding headache triggers, such as certain foods and lack of sleep
- Resting in a quiet, dark environment as needed
- Stress management
- Medicine, as recommended by your healthcare provider
Seek Expert Help For Recurrent Or Severe Headaches
Most of the time, changes to your lifestyle and over-the-counter pain medications are enough to keep occasional tension headaches at bay.
However, if you get severe or chronic tension headaches, its important to get professional help from a healthcare provider.
Chronic tension-type headaches are usually treated with medication. Your healthcare provider may recommend using a drug called amitriptyline to manage your headache symptoms and prevent your headaches from coming back.
Amitriptyline is effective, but it can take three to four weeks to start working. You might need to keep using medication for six months or longer to deal with recurrent headaches and get control over your symptoms.
If youre prescribed preventive medication for your headaches, make sure to closely follow your healthcare providers instructions and inform them if you experience any side effects.
Your healthcare provider might also suggest taking part in therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy , to treat your headaches. CBT and other forms of psychotherapy may help you to deal with stress and other mental health issues that can contribute to headaches.
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Signs You Need Treatment
Everybody gets headaches occasionally, but it is not normal to experience recurring headaches or the type of headache that stops your daily routine. The most common reasons for primary headaches involve lifestyle factors such as physical and/or emotional stress, skipping meals, eating processed food containing nitrates, drinking red wine, and poor sleep quality. Secondary headaches are caused by infections or diseases that stimulate one or more of the 12 cranial nerves. Examples of secondary headaches include:
If a chronic daily headache or increased headache frequency interferes with your daily life and preventative treatments or pain relievers have not worked to reduce the severity of headaches, you should consider Botox for tension headaches. Your doctor or healthcare provider may want you to visit a neurologist who specializes in diagnosing the causes of primary and secondary headaches. Various diagnostic techniques are routinely given to identify the reasons behind chronic head pain, such as:
Erythrocyte sedimentation rate
Digital subtraction angiography
Good candidates for Botox headache relief are over 18 years old and have experienced 15 or more tension headache days or migraines per month for at least three months, consecutively.
Should I Consider Botox For Migraine And Tension Headaches As A Good Treatment Option
Tension headaches can be mistaken for episodic migraines when the pain is severe and unresponsive to ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Although both tension headaches and mild migraines cause steady head pain, migraines are defined by a constellation of symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, visual auras, and pain on one side of the head only.
Now that healthcare providers understand tension headaches and chronic migraine headaches involve abnormal muscle contractions, doctors are providing Botox to people who experience frequent tension headaches that cannot be relieved by OTC medication. However, before recommending Botox to patients with tension headaches, physicians may suggest trying one of several migraine treatment medications commonly prescribed. These include:
Beta-blockers for lowering blood pressure
Calcitonin gene-related peptide antagonists that block the CGRP protein implicated in severe headaches
The problem with taking prescription drugs for tension headaches or migraines is the potential for medication-overuse headaches . Research indicates that people with a history of tension headaches or migraines are at high risk for MOH. However, MOH has not been documented in individuals who do not have a history of tension headaches or migraines but take pain medication for arthritis and other conditions.
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Botox Treatment For Tension Headaches
- Botox Treatment for Tension Headaches
A chronic tension-type headache is not as debilitating as a migraine but can still reduce ones quality of life when it recurs and does not respond to medication. Symptoms of a tension headache include steady pain on both sides of your head, intense pressure around your head, and sometimes pain in the lower back of the head. People who suffer from treatment-resistant tension headaches can now find pain relief with Botox for tension headaches.
Tension headaches are believed to emerge from a combination of factors, such as genetics, stress, and possibly undetected medical issues. In addition, doctors believe that continuous muscle contractions in the neck and head contribute significantly to the persistence of tension headaches. Botox not only prevents muscles from contracting but may also help reduce the frequency of tension headaches.
What Causes Tension Headaches
Doctors dont have this 100% figured out yet. We dont know a whole lot about the pathology of headache tension-style headaches are likely triggered by inflammation, says Amit Sachdev, M.D., medical director in the division of neuromuscular medicine at Michigan State University.
Theres no single cause for tension headaches, but you can have a regular trigger. In general, tension headaches occur when the neck and scalp muscles become tense or contract, usually in response to stress, depression, a head injury, or anxiety, the U.S. National Library of Medicine states.
People of any age can get tension headaches, but theyre more likely to happen in adults and older teens, and tend to run in families. So, if your mom and grandma get them, the odds are pretty high that you will, too.
Theres a laundry list of possible tension headache triggers:
- Fatigue or overexertion
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What Is Chronic Tension Headache And Who Is Affected By It
Chronic tension headache is a condition where you have a tension headache on at least 15 days every month for at least three months.This can be tiring and depressing. Tension headache is the common type of headache that most people have at some time.
It’s not known exactly how common chronic tension headache is, as few studies have looked at this clearly. Some studies have estimated that around 1 in 30 of all adults have chronic tension headaches – which means they have a headache on more than half of all days for three months or more. However, it is possible that a proportion of these patients actually have developed medication-overuse headaches as a result of their tension headaches. Therefore, it can be difficult to be certain which is their main problem.
Chronic means persistent it does not mean severe. The severity of the headaches can vary from mild to severe. Because of the persistent nature of the headaches, however, this condition is often quite disabling and distressing, and most patients take preventative medication.
What Are The Side Effects Of Botox Injections For Headaches
To alleviate tension headache pain, doctors give Botox injections around the temples, forehead, and lower back of the head and neck. Since headache pain typically originates from muscles continuously contracting in these areas, physicians often refer to them as trigger points.
When administered by qualified, experienced Botox providers, botulinum toxin injections are safe and effective for treating chronic tension headaches. Side effects last about one to two days and mostly involve injection site swelling and soreness. Other common side effects of Botox for tension headaches include:
Slight eyelid drooping
Clinical trials indicate that most side effects are mild and almost never cause people to stop treatment. In rare cases, some people may have an allergic reaction to Botox that causes skin rash, itching, difficulty swallowing, and extreme muscle weakness. When someone develops symptoms of an allergic reaction to Botox, their immune system makes antibodies designed to neutralize the effects of Botox. Blood tests can detect the presence of these allergen antibodies to determine if it actually is an allergic reaction to Botox.
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When To Seek Medical Help
Although tension headaches are not usually dangerous, they can still be irritants that disrupt your daily routine.
In some cases, however, such headaches will warrant immediate medical attention. Some red flags include an abrupt onset of pain, a fever, feelings of confusion, a stiff neck, double vision, a general feeling of weakness, or difficulty speaking. To play it on the safe side, also consider visiting your doctor if you take pain medicine more than twice a week, or if a headache feels different from usual. These may be signs of an underlying medical condition.
A Pharmacist Can Help With Headaches
You can ask a pharmacist about:
- the best painkiller to take, if you’re not sure which is suitable for you
- what to do if you’re pregnant some medicines are not recommended in pregnancy
- medicines for sleep problems like insomnia if you’re having trouble sleeping and you think it may be causing your headaches
- is annoying but does not stop you doing daily activities
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Permanent Tension Headache Relief
Although tension headache is relatively common and not fatal, its bothersome and can widely affect your daily activities. To address the root cause of your pain, start with a no obligation appointment from MVMT Physio & Chiro and speak with a qualified pain expert. Get sound advice as to the right tension headache treatment for you and what you can do to stop it from coming back.
How Long Do The Effects Of Botox Last For Tension Headaches
Most people need two treatments before they notice the benefits of Botox for head pain. However, some patients may experience relief immediately, depending on the severity of tension headaches, their overall health, and other factors. Generally, if a person has not responded well to three courses of Botox injections, they should assume Botox is not the right headache treatment for them. However, the majority of our patients seeking headache relief with Botox can expect the results to last up to six months.
In addition to reducing the frequency and severity of tension headaches, Botox provides additional benefits. You can drive yourself home after Botox treatment , injections take little time to be administered, injections are relatively painless, and side effects are negligible compared to medication side effects.
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What Happens At Your Gp Appointment
If you have regular tension headaches, a GP may suggest you keep a headache diary to record details of your headaches like:
- how often you get them and how long they last
- how painful they are and any other symptoms you have
- possible causes
- any medicines you take to help
The GP may advise you about taking painkillers for tension headaches, such as when to take medicine and how often you should take it.
You may be referred to a specialist if painkillers and activities like exercise do not help reduce your headaches or if it’s not clear what’s causing them.
How To Get Rid Of A Tension Headache The Basics
According to the International Headache Society, tension headaches are generally a short-lived, infrequent incident. These types of headaches are known as episodic tension headaches and can last from anywhere between 30 minutes and seven days.
For those who develop frequent tension headaches, the episodes may bring more severe pain than those who experience them only occasionally. Some peoplearound 3% of the U.S. populationdevelop chronic tension headaches. The main difference between the two is that chronic headaches are recurring and happen more than 15 days out of a month for three or more months. The pain and severity of this kind of headache also tends to wax and wane rather than being at a constant level.
Both episodic tension headaches and chronic cases occur more frequently in women than in men. Learn more about tension headaches in the video.
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Who Should Administer Botox For Tension Headaches
Your face is controlled by dozens of muscles that contract to make a wide variety of facial expressions. A trained Botox professional is familiar with facial anatomy and knows exactly where all muscles and other soft tissues are located. Inexperienced Botox providers may not know about facial muscles, their locations, and which movements they regulate. Consequently, injecting Botox into the wrong spot could lead to problems involving muscle activity, muscle strength, and ineffective results.
At Virginia Surgical Arts, youll be in the hands of a highly skilled and knowledgeable Botox provider who understands how neck and head muscles work and how targeting certain facial areas can significantly improve the results of Botox for tension headaches. If you suffer from chronic tension headaches or migraines and have not found relief from standard treatments, please contact Virginia Surgical Arts at or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation appointment. We can help you regain your quality of life and alleviate debilitating head pain that prevents you from doing the things you love to do.
Causes Of Tension Headaches
The exact cause of tension type headaches is unknown.
There are various known aggravating factors that may trigger a tension type headache such as:
- Forward head posture
- Bad posture from computer work or being bent over to look down at a phone
Tension type headaches are often a diagnosis of omission meaning other diagnoses must be ruled out first, such as: Migraines, overuse of medication, cervicogenic headaches and other forms of headaches.
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What Causes A Tension Headache
The exact mechanism that causes a tension headache is not known. Several factors, such as genetics and environment, are thought to be involved. Muscle contractions in the head and neck are considered a major factor in the development of a tension headache. Some people get tension headaches in response to stressful events or hectic days.
Soothe Pain With A Cold Compress
Using a cold compress may help reduce your headache symptoms.
Applying cold or frozen compresses to the neck or head area decreases inflammation, slows nerve conduction and constricts blood vessels, all of which help reduce headache pain .
In one study in 28 women, applying a cold gel pack to the head significantly reduced migraine pain .
To make a cold compress, fill a waterproof bag with ice and wrap it in a soft towel. Apply the compress to the back of the neck, head or temples for headache relief.
Coenzyme Q10 is a substance produced naturally by the body that helps turn food into energy and functions as a powerful antioxidant .
Studies have shown that taking CoQ10 supplements may be an effective and natural way to treat headaches.
For example, one study in 80 people demonstrated that taking 100 mg of CoQ10 supplements per day reduced migraine frequency, severity and length .
Another study including 42 people who experienced frequent migraines found that three 100-mg doses of CoQ10 throughout the day helped decrease migraine frequency and migraine-related symptoms like nausea (
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