Skip to content

Migraines & Headaches Health Center

Font Size

Tension Headaches - Cause

The cause of tension headaches is not clear. In the past, doctors believed that tension or spasms of the muscles of the neck, face, jaw, head, or scalp played a role in causing these headaches. Now they think a change in brain chemistry may also help cause a tension headache.

Tension headaches are the most common type of headache. They can be brought on—or triggered—by things such as stress, depression, hunger, and muscle strain. Tension headaches may come on suddenly or slowly.

Recommended Related to Migraines/Headaches

What Is a Migraine With Aura?

There it is again -- that excruciating pain in your head from a migraine. The pain alone is enough to stop you from carrying on your daily activities. But even before the headache begins, you notice strange symptoms such as dizziness, ringing in your ears, seeing zigzag lines, and being sensitive to light. No doubt about it -- you have a painful, debilitating headache. But what makes this headache a migraine? And what does it mean to have a migraine with aura? How is this different from other h...

Read the What Is a Migraine With Aura? article > >

Chronic tension headaches often occur along with other health problems such as anxiety or depression.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    1
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    woman receiving acupuncture
    14 alternative methods for migraine relief.
    woman with migraine
    Get the truth about migraines.
     
    headache in the bedroom
    Keep headaches from ruining your sex life.
    desert heat
    12 surprising headache triggers.
     
    woman with migraine
    Quiz
    drinking coffee
    Article
     
    Migraines Headaches Basics
    Article
    acupuncture needles in woman's back
    Slideshow
     
    young woman with migraine
    Articles
    spraying perfume
    Article
     
    man with a headache
    Article
    headache in the bedroom
    Article