Tension-type headaches (most of us know them as tension headaches) are quite common, but they're still not well understood. This type of headache varies in intensity and frequency. You may go through a period of having almost-daily severe cranial smashers, or you may experience a tension-type headache once in a blue moon, hurting only enough to irritate you.
At some point in life, seven out of 10 people will have tension-type headaches [source: New England Center for Headache]. Commonly, this type of headache causes a decentralized, dull pain that makes your brain feel like it's in a clamp.
Your neck and shoulders will be tight, and you'll feel especially sensitive to light and sound. As the name implies, stress and anxiety are both often triggers for these headaches, and you can treat them with simple relaxation and over-the-counter (OTC) headache medication.
Some people find themselves plagued day-in and day-out by chronic tension-type headaches, and may find comfort through prescribed antidepressants, which are often used in the battle against headaches because of their headache-relieving analgesic qualities. Others, though, may find they can keep tension-type headaches at bay by reducing stress and treating themselves periodically to a professional massage.