Headaches can vary from slight aches to sharp, throbbing pain. However, tension headaches – also called stress headaches – tend to be particularly severe and debilitating. It is estimated that more than 60% of Americans suffer from stress headaches, and they are more prevalent in women than in men.
Tension headaches may be episodic or chronic. Episodic headaches happen infrequently and often without warning, while chronic ones occur more than 15 days in a month. Stress headaches are rarely life-threatening, but they can drastically interfere with your quality of life and productivity.
Let’s talk about what tension headaches are, what tends to trigger them, and where you can go in the Metro Detroit area for long-term relief from your stress headaches.
What Can Cause a Tension Headache?
There is no specific cause of tension-type headaches, and the condition is not yet fully understood. Some people who have very stressful lifestyles don’t get stress headaches at all, while others who have a relatively low-stress life can suffer terrible tension headaches.
Experts used to believe that stress headaches resulted from head muscle contractions resulting from heightened emotions, tension, or stress, but no link has been proven between tension headaches and muscle tension. That said, neurologists have identified several possible causes, including the following:
- Eyestrain – Eyestrain is caused by prolonged focusing of your eyes, such as while driving or reading for a long time. Cases of eyestrain are increasing due to the increased use of computers and smartphones. Be sure to look away periodically and give your eyes a break.
- Insomnia – Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that affects up to 70 million Americans. The inability to get sufficient sleep during the night can cause systemic stress and lead to headaches. Over time, this may lead to other serious medical problems if left untreated.
- Fatigue – Chronic fatigue is probably not a direct cause of stress headaches, but people with chronic fatigue syndrome are susceptible to headaches.
- Dental Problems – The trigeminal nerve is the largest nerve in your head, and it handles the sensations of your face, gums, and teeth. When you have an infected tooth, the infection could irritate the nerve and trigger a tension headache. It’s best to get your teeth checked regularly to prevent this from happening.
- Alcohol Consumption or Withdrawal – There are two types of headaches triggered by alcohol consumption: immediate and delayed. The former can happen within three hours of drinking alcohol, while the latter could take up to 12 hours to manifest.
Alcohol may directly or indirectly cause a stress headache. Some indirect effects of alcohol that can lead to tension headaches include dehydration and inflammation. Alcohol can also cause your blood vessels to dilate, which may trigger headaches.
Stress Headache Management Clinics in Metro Detroit
If you need a diagnosis and medical treatment for your headaches, come and visit us at Associates in Neurology. Our licensed healthcare providers are focused on the diagnosis and treatment of brain, spinal cord, nerve, and musculoskeletal disorders.
If you would like to know more about us or to schedule an appointment, call us today at (248) 478-5512 or fill out our easy-to-use online appointment request form now. We look forward to helping you finally take control of your headaches!