Tension Type Headache

What is Tension Type Headache?

According to the International Headache Society, Tension Type Headache is the most common type of primary headaches, which accounts to almost 90% of all headache types. It has a lifetime prevalence worldwide ranging up to 78%.

Tension Type Headache is usually felt by a constant pressing, tightening and squeezing discomfort on both sides of the head. Sufferers normally describe their pain as if they were wearing a tight helmet which becomes tighter and tighter around their head. The pain intensity can range from mild to moderate and can last anywhere between 30 minutes and up to 7 days. Nausea or vomiting is not a feature of tension type headache however, sensitivity to light or sound can be.

Although the pain intensity ranges from mild to moderate, it can still leave those suffering from this condition to become disabled due to the constant, annoying and long lasting nature of this condition.

What is the cause of Tension Type Headache?

The traditional and old theory of the cause of Tension Type Headache was due to an increase in muscular tension around the head and scalp causing a tension type headache. This theory was proved wrong in recent studies, as researchers have found the tension in the scalp from those with tension headache to be no greater than those who were not suffering from headaches1.

Recent discoveries and research have found the primary contributing factor of Tension Type Headache to be the related to the neck, and predominantly a fault in the upper cervical spine resulting in a SENSITISED BRAINSTEM to induce Tension Headaches. Interestingly, studies as early as in the year 1977 have found through EMG, that the scalp muscle activation did not change, however the muscles around the neck showed increased activity1.  Thus, indicating a fault within the neck with those suffering from Tension Headaches rather than tension around the head.

Clinicians around the world are now pointing to the neck as the cause of Tension Type Headaches, and are now treating the cervical spine rather than prescribing medications or attempting to relax the scalp muscles.

At the Brisbane Headache and Migraine Clinic™, we do this exactly and use world-class techniques in assessing and treating the neck. A thorough examination of the upper cervical spine is initiated to determine the severity of your SENSITISED BRAINSTEM.

Once treatment commences we expect a significant improvement to occur rapidly in 90% of our patients and within the first 5 treatment consultation.

Imagine living a life free from migraines and saying goodbye to medications!

To gain your recovery from Tension Type Headaches today contact us on 1800 HEADACHE (toll free)

1800 43 23 22


1 Bakal D. A. and Kaganov, J. A. (1977) Muscle Contraction and Migraine Headache: Psychophysiologic Comparison. Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain. 17 (5) pp 208-215.

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