Dr Nidhi Bhatt
What is tension headache?
A tension-type headache (TTH) is usually light to moderate pain that is often described as a sense of tight band around the head. During this headache there are dull pain, tightness, or pressure around your forehead or the rear of your head and neck. They will occur in any age but are mostly typical in adults and older teens. It’s slightly more common in women and tends to run in families.
There are two types:
- Episodic tension headaches happen fewer than 15 days per month. These can last from half and hour to per week. The episodic kind usually starts slowly, often within the centre of the day.
- Chronic tension headaches happen over 15 days a month. Chronic ones come and take an extended period of your time. The pain may get stronger or ease up through the day, but it’s nearly always there.
Where does it hurt?
- This type of headache can:
- Start at the rear of your head and spread forward
- Become a band of dull pressure or squeezing pain around your entire head
- Affect both sides of your head equally
- Make the muscles in your neck, shoulders, and jaw feel tight and sore
Causes Of Tension Type Headache
The exact cause for such headache isn’t known. But it is believed that nervous tension maybe one of the cause. When the muscles of scalp and neck are contracted it is believed to be responsible for the development of such headache. In activities where the head is held in one position for an extended time without moving is also responsible for such headaches (some of those activities are typing or other computer work, fine work with the hands, and using a microscope).
Other triggers of tension headaches include:
- Physical or emotional stress
- Alcohol use
- Caffeine (too much or withdrawal)
- Colds or a sinus infection
- Dental problems like jaw clenching or teeth grinding
- Eye strain
- Excessive smoking
- Fatigue or overexertion
- Sleeping in an exceedingly cold room
- Sleeping with the neck in an abnormal position
- Skipping meals
- Less of water intake
Symptoms Of Tension Headache
The symptoms of tension headache are:
- Onset of the headache is slow.
- Head generally hurts on each side.
- Pain is mostly mild to moderate, but not severe.
- Pain usually involves the rear part of the head or neck.
- Head pain is dull.
- Band like or pressure feeling around forehead.
Preventing Tension Headache
There are certain small steps that can be adopted to minimise the frequency of such tormenting conditions. Some of the steps are:
- Taking proper sleep and rest.
- Maintain a proper posture while reading, sleeping or working.
- Drinking ample amount of water.
- Not skipping meals.
- Managing stress
- Doing exercise daily.
- Exercise of head and neck should be practised daily.
- Avoid alcohol intake and smoking.
- Caffeine should be taken in moderate amount.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy to manage stress and anxiety
Thought Process Associated With Tension Type Headache
Head is the part of the body in which resides the main organ i.e.brain. Brain contains 4 lobes namely Parietal, Occipital, Frontal and Temporal which perform different functions. Different functions of the lobes are:
- Parietal lobe is responsible for processing information about touch, taste, temperature and movement.
- Occipital lobe is responsible for receiving and interpreting visual information.
- Frontal lobe is needed for cognitive functions like making plans, decision, judgments, memory, problem solving etc and also control voluntary movement or activity of body.
- Temporal lobe is present behind the ears and associated with processing auditory information and with the encoding of memory.
Questions To Be Asked While Case Taking
Some of the main questions asked while case taking are:
- ONSET OF SYMPTOMS- How was the progress of the symptoms. Every single detail should be inquired like stress, alcohol, exposure to cold or hot weather etc
- NATURE OF PAIN – the character and location of the pain should be noted. Radiating nature of the pain should be asked.
- ASSOCIATED SYMPTOMS- it should be asked whether there are any associated symptoms along with headache.
- MODALITIES – any factors which increase or decrease headache.
Homeopathic Remedies For Tension Type Headache
In homoeopathy holistic approach is followed for treatment of every disease. In homoeopathy importance is given to the whole body including both physical and mental symptoms. The conclusion is not drawn on just a single symptom overall health is considered for prescription of a medicine.
Here are a few common remedies are given for the tension type headache which proves to have a magical effects in case of different kinds of headache. Some of the common medicines are :
- ACTEA RACEMOSA– indicated for shooting and throbbing headache after mental worry, over study, or as a reflex of uterine disease. Peculiar sensation of opening and shutting in the brain. Pain is present in entire head extending to neck and back.
- BELLADONNA– one of the widely used medicine for throbbing headache due to cold and catarrhal inflammation. Pain especially in forehead, occiput and temples which is worse from light, noise, jar, lying down and in the afternoon and better by pressure
- BRYONIA ALBA– indicated for frontal headache involving frontal sinus. Pain in eyeball worse on motion. Bursting, splitting headache, as if everything would be pressed out, as if beaten by hammer from within. Pain worse from motion, stooping and opening the eyes and better by rest and lying on painful side.
- EPIPHEGUS VIRGINIANA– indicated for tension headache triggered by mental or physical exhaustion, preceded by hunger. Headache characterized by viscid salivation and constant inclination to spit. Pressing pain in the temple worse on left side. Headache is usually better after sleep.
- GELSEMIUM- indicated for tension headache with a band like sensation around the head. Occipital headache. Dull, heavy pain with heaviness of the eyelids. Pain within the temples, extending to the ear, alae of nose and chin. Headache with muscular soreness of the neck and shoulders. Headache preceded by blindness and better by profuse micturition and lying with the head high.
- GLONOINUM- indicated for tension type headache triggered by sunlight. Sun headaches, increases and reduces with the sun. Head feels heavy but cannot lay it on a pillow. Cannot bear any heat around the head. Throbbing headache. Head feels enormously large, as if the skull was too small for the brain. Headache better from uncovering the head.
- IGNATIA AMARA– indicated for tension headache triggered by smoking or smell of tobacco. Congestive headaches following anger or grief. Headache as if a nail was driven out through the side.
- KALI PHOS- one of the top most remedy for tension headache triggered by stress, fatigue, anxiety and emotional disturbances. Indicated for headache in students. Headache with a weary, empty, all gone feeling in the stomach. Occipital headache better after rising.
- NUX VOMICA– indicated for tension headache triggered by alcohol intake. Headache within the occiput or over the eyes. Pressing pain within the vertex, as if nail was driven in. Frontal headache, with a desire to press the top against something. Congestive headache associated with haemorrhoids. Much irritability is marked with headache.
Important Rubrics For Tension Type Headache
Some commonly used rubrics from Kent repertory and Boericke repertory are mentioned below:
complete picture of the disease.
- [Kent] [Head] Constriction, tension: Forehand
- [Kent] [Head] Constriction, tension: Forehand: Band,as from:
- [Kent] [Head] Constriction, tension: Temples: Band from temple to temple, like a
- [Kent] [Head] Pain, headache in general; Grief, from:
- [Kent] [Head] Pain, headache in general: Mental exertion from:
- [Kent] [Head] pain, headache in general: Work: From
- [Kent] [Head] pain, headache in general: Forehead, in : Right side: extending to : Left side
- [Kent] [Head] Pain, headache in general: forehead, in: Eyes above: Mental exertion, during:
- Boericke] [Head] Headache cephalalgia: Cause: Emotional disturbances:
- [Boericke] [Head] Headache cephalalgia: Cause: Mental exertion or nervous exhaustion
- [Boericke] [Head] Headache cephalalgia: Location: Frontal:
- [Boericke] [Head] Headache cephalalgia: Concomitants: Mental depression, despondency:
- [Boericke] [Head] Headache cephalalgia: Character of pain: Constrictive, band- like, squeezing:
- Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Edition
- Johns Hopkins medicine
- Boericke’s New Manual of Homeopathic Materia Medica with Repertory
- Repertory Of the Homoeopathic Materia Medica, James Tyler Kent