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I Suffer From Band-Like Pain Around My Head

Tension Headache Treatments

Tension Headaches are the most common type of primary headache, according to the International Headache Society. Tension Type Headache accounts for almost 90% of all headache types with a lifetime prevalence worldwide ranging up to 78%.

Tension Headaches can still leave those suffering from this condition to become disabled due to the constant, annoying and long-lasting nature of this condition, even though the pain intensity ranges from mild to moderate.

At Sydney Headache and Migraine Clinics, we expect to observe significant improvement within the first 3 weeks of treatment consultations. We have seen a large number of patients with Tension Headaches improve significantly following our treatment, which is invasive-free, medication-free and surgery-free. Book a consultation today.

Understanding Your Headache

Common Tension Headache symptoms

Tension Headache patients normally describe their pain as if they were wearing a tight helmet or exercise headband which can become tighter and tighter around their head. The pain can last anywhere between 30 minutes and up to 7 days and the intensity can range from mild to moderate. Vomiting and nausea are not features of tension type headache however patients can have a sensitivity to sound or light.

There are two types of Tension Headaches:

1. Episodic Tension Type Headache

The frequency of episodic tension type headache can be used to characterise the type of tension type headache. Episodic Tension Type Headache is characterised by the frequency of attack days per month.

Episodic Tension Headache patients are classified as those that have suffered headaches for at least three months but experience less than 15 headache “attack” days per month. Their headaches can last anywhere between 30 minutes to seven days.

Recent research has found that episodic tension headaches are prevalent in as many as 36% of men and 42% of women. If Episodic tension type headache is ongoing it may form into chronic tension headache.

2. Chronic Tension Type Headache

Chronic Tension Headaches feature long lasting symptoms. Some sufferers may have a continuous headache lasting all day for 10-30 years or more. Chronic tension headache occurs if the patient suffers these head pain symptoms for at least three months and have more than 15 attack days per month.

At times patients can also experience migraines in conjunction with their chronic tension-type headaches. Chronic tension type headache is usually resistant to painkillers.

Vertigo Headaches

Understanding Your Headache

What causes of Tension Headaches?

Traditional research has investigated the muscle contractions or muscular tension around the head and scalp and believed an increase in muscle tension was the root cause of tension type headache. However, recent studies have found the tension in the scalp from those with tension headaches are comparable to those who were not suffering from headaches.

This has led to discoveries and research in other areas of the body. Research has now found the primary contributing factor of tension-type headache to be related to the upper cervical spine specifically the brainstem which induces tension-type headaches.

Studies as early as 1977 found through EMG, that the scalp muscle activation did not change in those suffering with tension-type headaches. However, the muscles around the neck showed elevated activity. Indicating the fault may lie within the neck with those suffering from Tension Headaches rather than around the head.

About The Assessment Stage

What To Expect During The Assessment

1. Comprehensive and in-depth examination

We instigate an in-depth assessment to identify all possible related factors that could be causing your headaches or migraines. The upper cervical spine, in particular, is thoroughly examined to identify possible issues.

2. Ligamental stability and vertebral arterial tests

We undertake careful examination of neck ligaments and vertebral arteries, ensuring only the highest standards of patient safety and comfort.

3. Temporarily reproduce your headache and migraine symptoms

As a part of the treatment process, we apply gentle and selective stress to the upper cervical spine in order to reproduce headache symptoms, which subside after 20-30 seconds. This helps to identify and treat the cause of your headaches.

What is the Difference Between Migraines and Tension Headaches?


Tension Headache conditions are different to migraine conditions, and patients are often given an incorrect diagnosis. Most people often label their headaches incorrectly and do not understand the difference between the two.

• Tension-type headaches will have mild to moderate pain, whereas migraine sufferers can experience a severe headache with disabling pain.

• Migraine pain is unilaterally and felt on one side of the head whereas tension-type headache pain is usually felt bilaterally like a band on both sides of the head.

• Tension type headaches do not get exacerbated with normal every day-to-day movements or activities. However, migraines get worse with simple movements, work, activities or even sport can often exacerbate and worsen a migraine.

Symptoms of a Tension Type Headache

• Pain is bilateral and all over

• Pain is mild to moderate

• Pain is felt like a squeezing, tightening, pressure pain

• No nausea or vomiting

• Movement and activities does not worsen the headache

• No visual disturbances

• Tension headaches occur without warning

Symptoms of Migraine

• Pain is unilaterally and on one side

• Accompanied by moderate to severe headaches

• Pain is felt like a severe throbbing and pulsating pain

• Nausea and vomiting is often present

• Movement and activities can worsen the migraine

• Can be accompanied by temporary weakness or paralysis on one side of the body (hemiplegic migraines)

• Can be accompanied by symptoms of vertigo (vestibular migraine)

• Visual disturbances

• Can occur with warning signs or aura

I’ve tried everything! What else can be done to help prevent tension headaches?

Tension Headache Treatment

If you suffer from episodic or chronic tension type headache and have tried everything with no relief, we suggest you see a dedicated headache and migraine treatment clinic. If you haven’t had your brainstem assessed to see whether it is causing your tension type headache, we recommend you get this assessed by a headache clinician.

At the Sydney Headache and Migraine Clinic™, our health professionals see countless patients with Tension Type Headaches and utilise world-class techniques in assessing and treating this problem. A thorough examination of the upper cervical spine is initiated to determine the severity of your SENSITISED BRAINSTEM.

The best part about the treatment is that we take a medication-free approach, surgery-free and non-invasive.

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