Chronic Tension Headaches – An Introduction

Chronic tension headaches can be a potentially debilitating condition that seriously deprives the patient of life enjoyment.  Daily activities can be painfully interrupted by the sudden occurence of a tension headache.  Chronic tension headache can easily lead to depression and a general pain crisis.  It is important that chronic tension headaches be treated as soon as possible.  Fortunately, the medical community has a great deal of experience with the phenomenon of headache, and has several avenues of treatment available for sufferers.  In fact, headaches are actually divided into three individual categories.

The majority of headaches suffered are put into what is known as the primary category.  A primary headache is frequently brought on by emotional or physical stress, and is the most common form of headache by far.  Primary headaches are almost never life threatening, but they can bring serious pain with them.  This pain can hamper everyday enjoyment of life, making even basic functioning difficult.  Although the exact causes remain something of a mystery, it is widely held that the symptoms are brought on by a tightening of the muscles that surround the base of the skull.  This tightening can be initially identified as a band like feeling just above the eyes that gradually grows into a painful sensation. 

Cluster and secondary headaches are a far rarer form of headache that occurs to small portion of the population.  To treat this kind of headache, serious medical attention is required.  Cluster headaches are easily identifiable by the amount of pain they cause.  Patients frequently describe cluster headaches as an icepick sensation behind one or both eyes.  Treatment includes powerful sedatives and pain medications.  Secondary headaches can be a sign of deeper neurological issues.

Chronic tension headaches should be treated with an eye toward stress management.  Physical and emotional stress can be a significant source of chronic tension headaches.  Circumstances that trigger significant emotional stress can prompt the occurence of chronic tension headaches. Prolonged physical stress is another potential cause of chronic tension headaches.  Steps to manage both kinds of stress are necessary to bring the problem under control.  If these steps do not succeed, then further treatment with more powerful pain medications may be necessary.  Chronic tension headaches that occur on a regular basis should be a signal to see a doctor.