Do you suffer from Tension-Type Headache (TTH)?


Tension-Type Headaches (TTH), sometimes simply called ‘tension headaches’ are a common condition, likely affecting approximately seven million Australians. Women get them more than men (42% compared with 36%), and they can have a real impact on sufferers’ lives. 60% of people with Tension-Type Headaches report reducing work and social activities as a result.

What do they feel like?

TTHs can feel like a dull and persistent pain that may vary from mild to moderate – although some people report sudden jabs of pain. They are usually felt on both sides of the head or neck and have been described as a constant, tight, heavy or pressing sensation.

The pain can be throbbing when it begins, and usually appears more gradually than a migraine.

Other possible symptoms include tender scalp, neck and shoulder muscles or a stiff neck that restricts movement and is uncomfortable. Mild sensitivity to light and noise may be present, along with an ache in the back, or the left side of the chest.

Sufferers may also experience nausea and indigestion, anxiety and depression, and have difficulty concentrating and getting to sleep.

When compared with migraines, TTH are more variable in duration, more constant in quality, and less severe. TTH symptoms can last for minutes, hours, days, months or even years!

What triggers a TTH?

This type of headache is often associated with a stressful event, or stress in your life, such as at work. People with TTH are often experiencing anxiety, fatigue, emotional upsets or depression.

However, stress is not necessarily the direct cause. Poor posture, bright lights, prolonged reading, loud noise, clenching teeth or overusing medication can all be factors in the onset of TTH.

What are the treatments?

The good news is there are a number of ways to treat TTH, depending on what your symptoms are and what triggers the headache.

Some remedies include hot or cold packs, improving posture, taking time away from stressors, achieving a better work/life balance and getting enough sleep and exercise to help your mental and physical relaxation.

Psychological therapy may help with anxieties or emotional pressures and techniques such as deep breathing exercises, biofeedback, acupuncture and neck and shoulder massage can all be useful.

You may also find over-the-counter medicines such as aspirin, paracetamol, ibuprofen, combination analgesics with codeine bring relief. However, be careful not to take these medicines every day as that might also precipitate a chronic daily headache.


● TTH or tension headaches are very common, affecting millions of Australians every year.
● They are often triggered by stress, although there are many other possible causes including poor posture and bright lights.
● There are a range of treatments available for TTH – from lifestyle changes to physical and psychological therapies.
● If you are experiencing this kind of headache, get in touch with us at Osteolife to discuss the kinds of treatments that may be of benefit to you.


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11. Tension-type headache: mechanisms.
12. Tension-Type Headaches Linked to Neck Weakness.
13. Neck and shoulder muscle strength in patients with tension-type headache: A case-control study.


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