Tension headaches

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:47 pm
Tension headaches are caused, in part, by the prolonged tightening of the muscles of the head and neck. These tension-type headaches vary from mild to moderate in intensity, and are described as a tight, squeezing pain around the back of the neck, scalp, and forehead. The pain can be occasional or frequent, and can be triggered by a number of factors, including physical and emotional stress. Migraine sufferers tend to get this kind of headache very frequently in between their severe migraine attacks. Although these headaches are rarely severe, when they occur frequently, they can be very annoying and interfere with the sufferer's ability to enjoy life. Tension headaches can usually be relieved by taking a painkiller such as aspirin, acetaminophen (a-seet-ah-MIN-o-fin), or ibuprofen (I-byou-PRO-fin). However, medication use should be limited; when taken daily, the drugs can lose their effectiveness. In addition, try relaxing by stretching and massaging the muscles of your shoulders, neck, jaws, and scalp. For more information on tension headaches, consult a health care provider.

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