A tension headache presents as a dull ache in the head with a feeling of tightness across the forehead, temples and back of the head, and tenderness of the scalp, neck and shoulder muscles. Some describe tension headaches as feeling as if the head is “gripped in a vice.” Tension headaches are the most common type of headache.
Tension headaches are caused by muscle contractions in the head and neck. A variety of foods, activities, and stressors can cause these types of contractions. Some people develop tension headaches after staring at a computer screen for long hours or driving for long periods. Cold temperatures may also trigger a tension headache in some people.
Other factors that may trigger a tension headache include:
• drinking alcohol
• eye strain
• a cold or flu
• a sinus infection
• poor posture
• emotional stress