Tension headache

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What is tension headache?

A common primary headache disorder, characterized by a dull, non-pulsatile, diffuse, band-like (or vice-like) pain of mild to moderate intensity in the head; scalp; or neck. There is no clear cause even though it has been associated with muscle contraction and stress.

Common symptoms reported by people with tension headache

Common symptoms
How bad it is
What people are taking for it

Reports may be affected by other conditions and/or medication side effects. We ask about general symptoms (anxious mood, depressed mood, fatigue, pain, and stress) regardless of condition.
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Treatments taken by people with tension headache

Treatment name(s)
Type
How many have tried
Tried for
Treatment name(s)

(Tylenol)
Type
Over the Counter Drug
How many have tried
30
Tried for
tension headache (25) pain (16)
Treatment name(s)

(Ultram)
Type
Prescription Drug
How many have tried
24
Tried for
pain (23) tension headache (1)
Treatment name(s)

(Neurontin)
Type
Prescription Drug
How many have tried
17
Tried for
pain (16) anxious mood (1)
Treatment name(s)

(Advil)
Type
Over the Counter Drug
How many have tried
17
Tried for
pain (11) tension headache (9)
Treatment name(s)

(Elavil)
Type
Prescription Drug
How many have tried
14
Tried for
pain (8) tension headache (8)
1 more
Treatment name(s)

(Cymbalta)
Type
Prescription Drug
How many have tried
14
Tried for
depressed mood (14) pain (2)
Treatment name(s)

(Flexeril)
Type
Prescription Drug
How many have tried
13
Tried for
pain (12) tension headache (1)
Treatment name(s)

(Norco)
Type
Prescription Drug
How many have tried
11
Tried for
pain (11) tension headache (1)
Treatment name(s)

(Lyrica)
Type
Prescription Drug
How many have tried
10
Tried for
pain (10) anxious mood (1)
1 more
Treatment name(s)

(TENS Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation)
Type
Procedures
How many have tried
9
Tried for
pain (9)

Data from patients with tension headache, who reported starting treatments within the last 5 years.
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Compare treatments taken by people with tension headache

Treatment name(s)
Perceived effectiveness
Side effects
Total evaluations
Tried for
Treatment name(s)

(Tylenol)
Perceived effectiveness
for tension headache (11 evaluations)
Side effects
balance problems
Total evaluations
18
Tried for
tension headache (25) pain (16)
Treatment name(s)

(Ultram)
Perceived effectiveness
for pain (17 evaluations)
Side effects
nausea sleepiness 12 more
Total evaluations
18
Tried for
pain (23) tension headache (1)
Treatment name(s)

(Neurontin)
Perceived effectiveness
for pain (14 evaluations)
Side effects
balance problems dizziness 23 more
Total evaluations
19
Tried for
pain (16) anxious mood (1)
Treatment name(s)

(Advil)
Perceived effectiveness
for pain (5 evaluations)
Side effects
acid reflux dry mouth 1 more
Total evaluations
10
Tried for
pain (11) tension headache (9)
Treatment name(s)

(Elavil)
Perceived effectiveness
for pain (7 evaluations)
Side effects
dry mouth constipation 14 more
Total evaluations
17
Tried for
pain (8) tension headache (8)
1 more
Treatment name(s)

(Cymbalta)
Perceived effectiveness
for depressed mood (21 evaluations)
Side effects
tension headache anxiety attacks 6 more
Total evaluations
21
Tried for
depressed mood (14) pain (2)
Treatment name(s)

(Flexeril)
Perceived effectiveness
for pain (16 evaluations)
Side effects
drowsiness constipation 11 more
Total evaluations
17
Tried for
pain (12) tension headache (1)
Treatment name(s)

(Norco)
Perceived effectiveness
for pain (4 evaluations)
Side effects
constipation drowsiness 1 more
Total evaluations
4
Tried for
pain (11) tension headache (1)
Treatment name(s)

(Lyrica)
Perceived effectiveness
for pain (15 evaluations)
Side effects
weight gain dizziness 5 more
Total evaluations
20
Tried for
pain (10) anxious mood (1)
1 more
Treatment name(s)

(TENS Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation)
Perceived effectiveness
for pain (2 evaluations)
Side effects
Total evaluations
2
Tried for
pain (9)
  • Major
  • Moderate
  • Slight
  • None
  • Can't tell
  • Severe
  • Moderate
  • Mild
  • None

Data from patients with tension headache, who reported starting treatments within the last 5 years.
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Who has tension headache on PatientsLikeMe?


Age
Age Proportion # of patients
<20 5
20s 216
30s 419
40s 410
50s 299
60s 149
70+ 30
Age at first symptom
Age at first symptom Proportion # of patients
0-19 years 281
20-29 years 178
30-39 years 90
40-49 years 37
50-59 years 16
60-69 years 4
70+ years 2

Distribution of sex

Sex
Sex Proportion # of patients
Male 386
Female 1,135

Diagnosis status
Diagnosis status Proportion # of patients
Diagnosed 583
Not Diagnosed 294

These charts show data from tension headache patients who have completed their condition history
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