Trying to get through a workday of important business with a vice-like, painful headache that shows no signs of stopping can be a huge challenge for many people. But most everyone has experienced a tension headache at one time or another, and the timing is rarely convenient. The medical professionals at Medco ER have a few tips to help you understand and navigate the next round of tension-type headaches that you or someone you love may experience.
Tension-type headaches can vary in severity and duration, but they usually have these easily recognizable symptoms:1
- Feeling of a tight band around the head
- Dull, aching pain in the head
- Sensation of pressure or tightness bearing down around the head
- Vice-like pain
- Tenderness in the scalp
- Tenderness in the neck and shoulder muscles
Types of Tension Headaches
Tension headaches can be categorized as episodic or chronic. Episodic tension-type headaches can last less than an hour to days.1 In frequency, they occur less than 15 days a month. Chronic tension-type headaches last for hours and days on end—more than 15 days a month.1
“If your tension headaches take up many days for three months in a row,” said Medco ER’s Medical Director, Dr. Nasir Khan, “then you are bordering on a chronic condition. It’s a good idea to be evaluated by your primary care physician or come in to Medco ER for an exam.”
Treatment of Tension Headaches
If you have frequent tension headaches, you may want to try a combination of the following common treatments:2
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen
- Drink plenty of water, eat regular meals
- Prescribed medication such as amitriptyline
- Non-medication treatments: biofeedback, chiropractic, massage, acupuncture, physical therapy, cognitive-behavior therapy
- Relaxation techniques: heating pad, muscle stretching, muscle strengthening, guided imagery to release tension3
Prevention of Tension Headaches
Since the cause of tension headaches is not known, prevention is not an exact science. You can try to make sure you don’t miss meals since headaches can occur from not eating regularly, or you can work to stay well hydrated by drinking 8-10 glasses of water each day. Keeping a headache journal can help pinpoint the onset triggers for your headaches, such as determining a recurring time of day.4
Emergency Tension Headaches
“If you are not prone to tension headaches but suddenly feel an abrupt, severe head pain,” said Dr. Khan. “Come to Medco ER right away. Also, if you experience a fever, stiff neck, dizziness, confusion, seizure, muscle weakness or other concerning symptoms along with a headache, it is to be considered a medical emergency.”
Get Help Fast at Medco ER
If your tension headache has become too much to bear, occurs too often, or has emergency symptoms associated with it, come to Medco ER for fast help from board-certified physicians. Our facility is open 24/7 every day of the year and we have the labs, pharmaceuticals and imaging equipment to support a timely diagnosis and treatment.
Plano: 3960 Legacy Drive, Plano, TX 75023 (on the corner of Legacy and Coit Road)
Call us @ 469-747-0370
If you suffer from recurring migraines or tension-type headaches, there could be a connection between stress and your pain. If you feel a headache blooming as you race through the house in the morning, trying to find your keys so you can get to work, it’s likely that stress is the cause. A tension-type headache can often be alleviated through relaxation techniques and lowering your stress levels. But migraines—even stress-induced migraines—are a different story. If you feel that your pain is out of control, you can visit us at Medco ER & Urgent Care where our board-certified physicians are always available to help.
“Once a migraine starts, it can quickly get worse,” said Medco ER & Urgent Care’s Regional Medical Director, Dr. Tariq Vora. “You can take over-the-counter pain relievers and try to rest, but if your migraine continues to worsen, you should come in and let us evaluate you and provide pain relief through advanced treatment options.”
If stress is the cause of your tension-type headaches or migraines, there may be some things you can do on your own to help avoid or lessen the pain. Consider ways to relax to allow your stress to melt away. A common method is to learn relaxation techniques through tai chi, yoga, stretching, meditation, biofeedback, progressive muscle relaxation, or breathing techniques.
Here are some other stress-busters that could help you avoid migraines:
- Play with your child and laugh together
- Play with your pet
- Be active – hike, sports, dance, exercise
- Become better organized so things don’t get lost so often
- Get more sleep
- Time management techniques – organize your day, eliminate commitments that are not needed
- Eat well – reduce artificial ingredients and additives and eat fresh, whole foods
- Reduce or eliminate toxins and stimulants – cigarettes, vapes, alcohol, caffeine
- Try a mouth guard if you grind your teeth at night
Emergency Care Needed
You should come to the emergency room if your headache or migraine comes on suddenly and is severe. If you have difficulty speaking or moving, or if you are confused, you should see a doctor immediately. Additionally, if your migraine comes with a stiff neck, double vision, fever, rash or seizures, go to the nearest ER. If you get a migraine after bumping or injuring your head, a doctor needs to evaluate you.
“While migraines can be brought on by stress, it’s important to know the warning signs that mean it’s time to come to the ER,” said Dr. Vora. “It could be more serious than just a headache and we are here to help.”
Find help at Medco ER & Urgent Care
When you are suffering from a migraine and it’s not getting any better, the physicians at Medco ER & Urgent Care are ready to put their years of experience in evaluating and treating migraines to work for you. Since we know that migraines often come at the most inopportune times, we’re here 24/7 every day of the year and are ready to bring you top quality health care when you need it the most.
- Plano: 3960 Legacy Drive on the corner of Legacy and Coit Road.
Call us @ 469-392-4000.