Non-Pharmacological Treatments for Tension Headache
Whether you are suffering from tension headaches frequently or on an infrequent basis, there are many non-pharmacological treatments that you can use to relieve the symptoms. Some of the most common treatments include relaxation, meditation, breathing techniques, yoga, acupuncture, and massage.
Infrequent episodic type
Symptoms of an infrequent episodic tension headache may include increased pericranial tenderness, photophobia, and sensitivity to light. These conditions are less common than chronic TTH but can have an important functional impact.
The International Headache Society (IHS) defines episodic TTH as a recurrent headache disorder that occurs no more than 15 days per month. Other definitions of TTH are also considered, provided that they meet the IHS diagnostic criteria. The pathogenesis of TTH includes central and peripheral myofascial factors, as well as peripheral dysfunction of pain-processing pathways.
The Global Burden of Diseases Study reported a prevalence of 21% for TTH. In the United States, the lifetime prevalence of TTH was estimated to be around 38%. Studies have shown that the lifetime prevalence of TTH in women is higher than in men. This may be attributed to cultural differences.
A recent population-based study in Chile showed that 72% of people with recurrent headaches had TTH. This study incorporated a variety of characteristics, including gender, age, education, occupation, and lifestyle. The results are difficult to extrapolate to those who suffer from occasional headaches.
Two recently published guidelines reviewed the effectiveness of various treatment modalities. The guidelines represent a more consistent approach than the previous BASH guidelines. The guidelines were based on a limited review of studies and were based on consensus methodology. They adopted a standard protocol for developing management guidelines.
Other preventive strategies are medications, such as over-the-counter analgesics, relaxation training, biofeedback, and cognitive-behavioral therapy. These approaches are effective in reducing the frequency and intensity of attacks. However, they can be addictive and cause adverse effects on organs, especially when combined with opioids. If these treatments are used regularly, the body can develop tolerance to the medication and the effect of the medication will diminish over time.
A more clinically specific approach to the treatment of episodic TTH is required. For the most part, the focus will be on the acute treatment of episodic TTH in adults. The most frequently researched prophylactic agent for frequent TTH is amitriptyline. If it does not work, the patient should be evaluated for occult serious conditions.
Unlike a migraine, a tension headache does not involve nausea or increased sensitivity to sound or light. However, the condition can be accompanied by fatigue, depression, and anxiety. In addition, it may affect job productivity and quality of life.
A tension headache can be episodic or chronic. The latter is more common, especially in women. It is characterized by pressure on both sides of the head, usually starting in the back of the head and worsening throughout the day.
Treatment of tension headaches includes both medication and stress management techniques. These methods are designed to reduce the intensity of the pain, as well as improve the quality of life.
In order to treat tension headaches, your doctor will review your medical history. He will also perform a physical examination to evaluate your symptoms. He will then use the International Classification of Headache Disorders-3 (ICHD-3) to classify your condition. If your headache does not fit in the ICHD-3 category, you should have imaging tests performed to rule out other less serious causes of the symptoms.
If the test confirms that your headaches are tension-type, your doctor will prescribe prescription medications. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are most commonly recommended. Other treatments include prescription painkillers, aspirin, or acetaminophen.
If your pain is not relieved by your medications, you may need additional treatment. Nonmedication methods include relaxation, biofeedback, cognitive-behavioral therapy, or acupuncture. You may also be referred to a specialist.
In addition to medications, tension headaches may be treated by other types of interventions, including trigger point injections, massage, and botulinum toxin injections. You may be prescribed an antidepressant such as amitriptyline to reduce the severity of the pain.
Some medications can be dangerous or even addictive, so you should discuss your use of medications with your doctor. Some drugs can cause rebound headaches when you stop taking them. Other drugs can have adverse effects on your organs.
The most effective medications are simple analgesics. These include ibuprofen and naproxen sodium. The use of these medications may be limited by renal dysfunction, bleeding disorders, or other medical conditions.
You should also speak with your physician if your headaches become more frequent or severe. In addition to treating your headaches, you should also address any psychological and social factors that may be contributing to the development of your condition.
Traditionally, headache management is based on pharmacological interventions. However, a variety of non-pharmacological treatments are also used in the treatment of this condition. These interventions can range from physical therapy to electrical stimulation. These interventions are often used in conjunction with pharmacological treatments.
The most commonly used non-pharmacological treatment is manual therapy. Various modalities are used to treat tension headaches, including massage, hot and cold packs, relaxation training, and electrical stimulation. These methods are effective at reducing the intensity of the headache, but not necessarily preventing the occurrence of the headache.
Some other non-pharmacological therapies include acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine, and cognitive behavioral therapy. These techniques are most often used in patients with chronic pain. They may have some positive effects, but are often expensive and may not be available in the public health care system.
These interventions are also more time-consuming than pharmacological treatments. They require active participation and motivation. They are most effective when used as part of a multimodal treatment approach. These therapies should be considered in the treatment of headache patients, particularly when a patient’s symptoms are not adequately treated with a single modality.
The placebo effect has not been studied with non-pharmacological treatment approaches. Unlike pharmacological treatments, these therapies are likely to vary based on the clinical presentation of the patient.
The most effective non-pharmacological treatment for headaches is an intervention that is based on current knowledge of nociceptive pain mechanisms. For instance, massage is a good technique to reduce anxiety, but may not be beneficial for all patients. Similarly, cognitive/psychological therapy is a good technique to reduce the frequency and severity of migraine, but it is more costly and requires active participation.
Although non-pharmacological interventions are not indicated for all headache syndromes, they are generally considered to be valuable in the treatment of headaches. The best non-pharmacological interventions have been associated with small clinical effects. It is important for clinicians to decide on the most appropriate treatment strategy for a specific patient. Currently, non-pharmacological interventions are included in most international guidelines for headaches. Until more is known about these therapies, it is unclear whether these methods are an effective alternative for the treatment of headaches.
Identifying the cause of a tension headache can be difficult. There are several different conditions that can trigger this pain. The most common cause of these types of headaches is stress. There are also other disorders that can affect this type of headache.
The International Headache Society has grouped this disorder into three categories. These are primary, episodic, and chronic. The diagnosis of a tension headache begins with a physical exam and medical history. This is followed by a neurologic evaluation to determine whether there is any serious intracranial pathology.
The most common headache site is the temples, forehead, and base of the skull. Some people also experience pain in the sacroiliac area. In some cases, the pain can be aggravated by certain foods and drinks.
Tension headaches can have a negative effect on your life. They can disrupt your career, social life, and overall quality of life. They can be treated with over-the-counter or prescription medications. Some people can find relief from tension headache symptoms by avoiding certain triggers and using over-the-counter painkillers in moderation.
A tension headache is not usually dangerous. It can be treated with over-the-counter painkillers and rest. However, if your symptoms are persistent or if they interfere with your daily activities, you may need to see a healthcare provider.
If you are experiencing frequent episodes of tension headaches, you should be checked for other problems. You may have a phobia, such as phonophobia or photophobia. You can also have a medical problem, such as a tumor. You can ask your GP to prescribe antidepressants, muscle relaxants, or other medication. These medications may be helpful in alleviating your headache, but they can also have side effects. You should talk to your doctor about your risks before taking any medications.
Some of these medications can be addictive, so it is important to discuss your risk with your doctor. If you take these medications regularly, you can build up a tolerance to them and they may not work as effectively as they used to. Some medications can have more adverse side effects than positive benefits.
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