Causes of Tension Headache
Experts have not been able to pin-point one main cause of tension headache because it is believed that there are more than one causes of tension headache. The exact cause of tension headache is yet unknown.
What are the most common causes of tension headache?
The most common of the causes of tension headache perceived in most people is the tightening of the muscles in the neck or the region at the back of head. This is one of the more popular theory that is said to cause tension headache. Here, the head, neck or shoulder muscle contracts causing the muscle to tighten. The patient may have a more sensitive muscle in the face and neck region, causing them to be more prone to experiencing tension headaches when their muscles contract. The affected area is believed to further result in blood vessels to constrict, causing a reduced blood flow and oxygen. Hence pain is experienced.
People who have a habit of repeatedly clenching and unclenching their jaws cause their neck muscles to tighten as well. This habit is said to be another one of the causes of tension headaches, as it leads to neck tension headache.
Bad posture is another cause of tension headache
Having a bad posture has also been identified as one of the causes of tension headache. An uncomfortable working position is a stressful position and holding this for a long time will eventually cause tension headache to develop. This being said, even sleeping with the head in an awkward position can be a cause of tension headache.
Another theory in the study on causes of tension headache is related to the chemicals in the brain. One suspected chemical is serotonin. Muscles emit signals to the brain, but a suspected faulty pain filter wrongly interprets this as pain, and hence patients experience the pain as tension headaches.
However, there has been one conflicting factor that is said to may or may not cause tension headache, and that is the issue of hereditary. There have been reports that claim that tension headaches have not been found to be hereditary, that patients do not inherit it from members of the family. Other sources say that genetic makeup have been found to play a part in determining if a person is more susceptible to tension headaches. And this susceptibility has been found to be equal in both male and female.
But studies have shown that females are more likely than males to experience tension headaches, so other factors like stress, hormones and the environment is believed to affect the development of tension headaches.
This leads us to come to the conclusion that stress may also be one of the causes of tension headache. Stress that slowly builds up as the days go by, or even daily stress, causes tension headache. Normally after a long stressful day at work, one is more likely to develop tension headache. Other sources of stress apart from work are school, family and friends. A person who is easily depressed or always anxious is more susceptible to develop tension stress than a person who is generally happier.
Other suspected causes of tension headache are the lack of sleep, straining the eyes such as when looking at materials for too long and taking meals at irregular times. Even stopped caffeine intake has been reported to be one of the related causes of tension headaches.