Pain Management in Knoxville, TN
Tension headaches – not to be confused with migraine
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, tension headaches are the most common type of headache experienced in modern medicine. If you’re suffering from head pain or tension headaches in Knoxville, you’re not alone. A few years ago, The National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey showed that head pain was the fifth leading cause of emergency room visits in the US. Two very common types of headaches suffered by American are tensions headaches, and another major cause is migraines.
A tension headache is generally a mild to moderate pain, described as having the sensation of a tight band squeezing your head. The pain often starts at the back of the head and moves forward, until it reaches the neck, scalp, and head. Many people will call tension headaches a stress headache. Stress is also thought to trigger many other headache types.
What’s the difference between a migraine and tension headache?
Like migraines, tension headaches are known for being triggered by stress; however, there are some significant differences between the symptoms. Migraine symptoms are often severe in nature, and the time when you’re experiencing them may often be debilitating. Some people experience nausea or vomiting during severe headaches. Migraine has a wide array of symptoms, and they usually start a day or two before the full-blown headache.
Unlike tension headaches, a migraine will cause visual disturbances, such as seeing “auras” around objects or experiencing pulses of light. Migraine sufferers are often sensitivity to light and will describe brightness, and sometimes sounds, as irritants that make their symptoms worsen. Vision loss, numbness and tingling in an arm or leg are common. Although more rare, speech difficulties such as mixing up words (called aphasia) have also been reported by people who suffer from chronic migraines.
If you have longer-term migraine pain, you may be suffering from cluster headache, or a hemiplegic migraine, both of which are debilitating conditions. Cluster headaches are severe headaches that recur cyclically over a period of several weeks. The pain from these headaches is usually limited to one side of the head. Hemiplegic migraines are more severe forms of migraines, often that are accompanied by auditory or visual disturbances that mimic the symptoms of a stroke.
Tension headaches can last anywhere from 30 minutes to a week, while a migraine can last from 30 minutes to 3 days. They can be difficult to distinguish from each other, and sometimes you’ll discover you suffer from both. It’s important to get a proper diagnosis from a physician to find out which condition you suffer from and so you can formulate a treatment plan that’s right for you.
How to relieve tension headaches?
Unfortunately, many people suffer needlessly while trying to manage the pain of their symptoms alone. This behavior can backfire, however, as studies have shown that repeated use of over-the-counter pain medications can actually cause what’s termed “overuse headaches”.
If you’re experiencing chronic headache pain, it’s important that you seek the guidance of an expert while charting your course of recovery. A physician can help you by prescribing pain relievers or combination medications for you to take. They can also prescribe medication to help prevent a tension headache when you feel it coming.