What causes tension-type headaches?

About 9 out of every 10 headaches are related to tension. Tension-type headache is caused by tightening of the muscles in the neck and scalp. Common causes include:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • holding your head in one position for a long time
  • musculoskeletal problems
  • stress

Classic examples of tension-type headaches are those that come from using computers or while driving long distances. Sleeping in a cold room or sleeping with your neck in a strained position can also bring about this type of headache. The pain usually disappears after the stress is gone.

Tension-type headaches can be chronic. If you have chronic, tension-type headaches, the pain often feels like pressure or a tight band around your head and neck. Tension-type headaches can also be caused by poor dental bite and by clenching your jaws.

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