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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.

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The first step to preventing migraines is to avoid triggers. These often include: Stress Smoking High blood pressure Hormonal birth control pills Exercise Bending over High altitude Dehydration Low blood sugar Excessive heat Although dietary triggers – such as caffeine, alcohol, and artificial sweeteners -- can cause other types of migraines; they seem less likely to trigger ocular migraines. Medications can also prevent ocular migraines. Calcium-channel blockers,...

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Your headache may go away after you relax or take a pain reliever such as aspirin or ibuprofen.

Chronic tension headaches often occur along with other health problems such as anxiety or depression. Rarely, serious problems such as tumors or infections may cause a headache.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: July 07, 2011
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.
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