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Tension Headaches Chronicles

Submitted by on March 24, 2011 – 12:05 amNo Comment

Its four p.m. and you have been peering at your laptop all through the day. The phones keep buzzing & there it is - all over again –that tight, rigid feeling wrapping around your head and literally squeezing it.

Tension headache is the commonest of all headaches afflicting around forty percent of individuals in a said year. Still, medical science appears to be neglecting it the most & about which nothing much comprehensible is known. This is partially due to headache specialists hardly ever seeing them. Majority of those who suffer from such headaches are simply either toughing it out or self-treating with OTC pain killer drugs that are usually effectual. However, many brain doctors caution that the use of pain reliever medicines for over ten days in a month’s time could be causal to drug-over usage or rebound headache that have the analogous dulling, achy pains like tension headache. Hence, although they would be giving you provisional reprieve but then would be rendering you prone to yet another attack.

The exact reason & manner in which tension headaches arise is yet shrouded in obscurity. There is greater knowledge regarding migraine that afflicts merely twelve percent of the populace, however are much acute & have a tendency of being throbbing & single-sided.

Specialists earlier believed that tension headaches were due to tension in muscles, particularly in the back, shoulder & neck areas. However, researches deploying electronics sensor devices for measurement of muscular contraction failed in finding any steady association amid headache, soreness or muscle tensions around the head. Factually, those ailing from such headaches have greater muscle tensions on days when they experienced no headaches.

Another hypothesis held is that the tensions were psychologically or emotionally related – physical manifestations of being stressed out or anxious. However, there is no apparent connection in this too. Many individuals when enormously stressed would never suffer from a headache while others would experience them even during periods of hardly any stress.

Presently, several headache specialists deem that individuals who develop tension-form of headaches are having a malfunction in the pain-discerning regions of the brain thus making them over-sensitive to stimulation ever so often. Such so-dubbed central sensitization is additionally believed to be the analogous mechanism at play in the rather baffling, common pain condition, fibromyalgia.

For confirming it, tension headaches would mostly be involving muscular soreness & contraction – however specialists presently deem that pains discernment begins in the brain & is then referred out of such regions, instead of the other way round. Correspondingly, in such premise, stress does not cause headaches, however it does intensify the pains.

Tension headache mostly go hand-in-glove with depression, though it is nebulous what is coming foremost. Individuals under depression have augmented headache occurrences & regular headache sufferers mostly experience depression.

A group of antidepressant medicines known as tricyclic drugs like imipramine (Tofranil) or amitriptyline (Elavil) are effectual in warding off incessant tension form of headaches in several individuals that haven’t experienced respite from the use of OTC medicines. Specialists deem that the medication’s pain-allaying features avert the headache; the dose is generally far lesser than would be deployed in case of solely depression. Tricyclic drugs aren’t causal to rebound headache which is the case with several pain killer drugs, however side-effects could comprise of feeling drowsy, dizzy & a dip in blood pressure. Although it is known that such medications are working on the pain receptors, however, the precise mechanism is yet unclear despite their availability for five decades.

Anti-epileptic medications, antispasmodic & migraine drugs might even aid in preventing incessant tension headaches. Physicians would zero down on one depending on the sufferer’s way of living, for instance, evading one which can cause sedation in the dawn hours.

Though the exact mechanism of headache pains is indefinable, plentiful things appear to aggravate headaches in prone individuals. Early hours of dawn is a time when tension headaches have a tendency of peaking partially because of insufficient snooze, sleep interruption because of OSA (obstructive sleep apnea), a discomfited sleep posture, hangovers or caffeine withdrawals.

Later part of the noon is another period when headache pains could peak – it is a time when the occurrences of the day have individuals slouching, gritting teeth & tends to tense the muscles of their neck.

Apart from several job annoyances – eyes could get strained when one stares at the laptop or computer screens & works in fluorescence lighting, pitiable air quality in work environments due to windows not opening.

Moreover, when lunches are skipped it could cause a precipitous dip in blood glucose levels, being seated for protracted spans of time could additionally be contributory to muscle tenderness & excess caffeine intake could be working counterproductively.

Undeniably, caffeine withdrawal is the reason for several individuals experiencing a headache during the weekend – a time when the job stresses have allayed.

Several specialists recommend regular headache sufferers to keep tabs on their episodes by jotting aspects like the time when the headache started, the span of time it lasted & the other on-goings of the day – all penned down in a diary.

There are plentiful suggestions on lifestyle modifications which might aid in staving off tension headache – regularly exercising & a proper diet being the principal ones.

A latest trial enrolling fifty thousand people from Norwegia noted that the ones exercising for a minimum of thirty minutes per day for 5 days in a week, suffered from lesser migraine or tension headache episodes as compared to the ones who did not.

One also needs to find ways of relaxing & alleviating stresses – like doing yoga, massages or doing isometric neck exercises – could additionally aid in staving off tension headache.

Many trials have substantiated the efficacy of acupuncture to treat tension headache, as the needle in some manner interrupts dysfunctional pain paths. Many headache specialists strongly recommend biofeedback – a method which works by training individuals in controlling bodily functions which are usually instinctive like cardiac rates, blood pressure for relieving tension headache, though here also, the mechanism isn’t properly comprehended.

In several situations, tension headache could well be signalling to a grave health condition. Around seventy-five percent of brain tumors initiate with signs & symptoms which are quite analogous, inclusive of a dull, achy feeling & sensing pressure. Yet, these cases are atypical and involve merely around 0.5 percent of headache cases which are coming to physician’s notice. An abrupt, acute headache alongside neurologic signs like problems faced when trying to think or feeling one-sided lack of sensation can be due to strokes.

Specialists emphasize that individuals must seek a doctor’s consultation regarding any incessant headache instead of toughing it out on their own.

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