What is a Tension-Type Headache?

If you’re seeking Headache Treatment Kitchener, did you know that  Tension-type headaches are the most common type of primary headache? Research has shown that approximately 38% of adults suffer annually with tension headaches. Furthermore, the lifetime prevalence of tension-type headaches is approximately 78% . Even though tension headaches are the most common type of primary headache, they can also be classified as a secondary headache.

Just as a side note a primary headache occurs independently; whereas, a secondary headache occurs as a result of another health disorder, i.e: Medication overuse headache or TMJ dysfunction. Tension Headaches are classified as secondary if they co-insides with another disorder that is known to cause headaches.

Tension-Type Headaches and Post Concussion Syndrome

An example of a secondary classification of a tension-type headache is in patients with post concussion syndrome. A concussion is caused by a acceleration/declaration force to the brain. This acceleration/deceleration injury is similar to a whiplash injury; however, whiplash requires far less force.

A study in the American Society of Neuroradiology found that the most common cause of headache in patients with post concussion syndrome was tension-type headaches. The researchers were able to show a link between a smaller cross-sectional area of the rectus capitis posterior minor (RCPMin) and greater symptom severity and increased headache. A reduced cross-sectional area of the RCPMin has also been shown to occur in whiplash patients. For more information on the association between tension headaches and post concussion syndrome, click here.

Symptoms of Tension Type Headaches:

  1. Headache that persist anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 week
  2. Headache with at least 2 of the following characteristics:
    • Presents on both sides of the head (bilateral)
    • Headache that is pressing/tightening (non-pulsating)
    • Intensity is mild to moderate intensity
    • Symptoms are not aggravated by routine physical activity, ex: walking or climbing stairs
  3. Headache with each of the following characteristics:
    • No nausea or vomiting
    • Sensitivity to light or noise, but not both
  4. Finally, tension type headaches can not be attributed to another disorder or underlying cause

Tension Headaches can be further classified into episodic (infrequent or frequent) and chronic. With further sub-classifications depending on whether or not there is tenderness associated with the tissue covering the skull (pericranial). If you suffer from any of these symptoms then seek the best Headache Treatment in Kitchener by contacting us immediately.

Episodic Tension Type Headaches:

The main distinguishing feature between episodic (frequent or infrequent) tension headaches and chronic tension type headaches is that there is no associated nausea with episodic.

Infrequent Episodic Tension-Type Headaches:

The only difference between a frequent and infrequent episodic tension type headache is based on the number of symptomatic days per month. Infrequent episodic tension type headaches occur less than 1 day per month on average (< 12 days per year).

Frequent Episodic Tension-Type Headaches:

Frequent episodic tension type headaches occur between 1 day and less than 15 days per month for at least 3 months of the year (≥12 and <180 days per year). In addition, frequent episodic tension type headaches tend to occur with common migraines (without auras); where as infrequent do not.

Chronic Tension-Type Headaches:

Episodic tension headaches that progress become chronic when they occur on average for more than 15 days per month and more than 3 months. As mentioned previously, the other disguising characteristic of chronic tension type headaches is that they can present with nausea. However, the nausea should only be mild, never severe or result in vomiting.

If you have any questions about our chiropractic services in Kitchener or want more details regarding the best Headache Treatment in Kitchener we’ll be happy to help you at any time,  just make an appointment or call Dr. Joel.