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Tension headache is named not only for the role of stress in triggering the pain, but also for the contraction of neck, face, and scalp muscles brought on by stressful events. Tension headache is a severe but temporary form of muscle-contraction headache. The pain is mild to moderate and feels like pressure is being applied to the head or neck. The headache usually disappears after the period of stress is over. Ninety percent of all headaches are classified as tension/muscle contraction headaches.
Muscle-contraction headaches have not been linked to hormones or foods, as has migraine, nor is there a strong hereditary connection.
Triggers of Muscle-Contraction Headaches:
Emotional factors such as depression and anxiety
Physical postures that tense head and neck muscles - such as holding one's chin down while reading
Possible areas of pain:
upper back and neck
base of head
the ears and above ears
above the eyes
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. www.ninds.nih.gov
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