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
27
Tried for
tension headache (22) pain (14)
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
20
Tried for
pain (19) anxious mood (1)
Treatment name(s)

(Elavil)
Type
Prescription Drug
How many have tried
15
Tried for
tension headache (9) pain (8)
1 more
Treatment name(s)

(Flexeril)
Type
Prescription Drug
How many have tried
14
Tried for
pain (13) tension headache (1)
Treatment name(s)

(Cymbalta)
Type
Prescription Drug
How many have tried
13
Tried for
depressed mood (13) pain (2)
Treatment name(s)

(Ibuprofen Prescription)
Type
Over the Counter Drug
How many have tried
12
Tried for
pain (9) tension headache (6)
Treatment name(s)

(Lexapro)
Type
Prescription Drug
How many have tried
10
Tried for
depressed mood (8) anxious mood (6)
1 more
Treatment name(s)

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

(Marijuana)
Type
Other
How many have tried
9
Tried for
pain (8) anxious mood (2)
3 more

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 (9 evaluations)
Side effects
balance problems
Total evaluations
14
Tried for
tension headache (22) pain (14)
Treatment name(s)

(Ultram)
Perceived effectiveness
for pain (19 evaluations)
Side effects
nausea sleepiness 12 more
Total evaluations
20
Tried for
pain (23) tension headache (1)
Treatment name(s)

(Neurontin)
Perceived effectiveness
for pain (14 evaluations)
Side effects
drowsiness stiffness 17 more
Total evaluations
19
Tried for
pain (19) anxious mood (1)
Treatment name(s)

(Elavil)
Perceived effectiveness
for tension headache (8 evaluations)
Side effects
dry mouth constipation 14 more
Total evaluations
17
Tried for
tension headache (9) pain (8)
1 more
Treatment name(s)

(Flexeril)
Perceived effectiveness
for pain (17 evaluations)
Side effects
drowsiness constipation 11 more
Total evaluations
18
Tried for
pain (13) tension headache (1)
Treatment name(s)

(Cymbalta)
Perceived effectiveness
for depressed mood (19 evaluations)
Side effects
sweating tension headache 15 more
Total evaluations
19
Tried for
depressed mood (13) pain (2)
Treatment name(s)

(Ibuprofen Prescription)
Perceived effectiveness
for pain (5 evaluations)
Side effects
acid reflux upset stomach
Total evaluations
7
Tried for
pain (9) tension headache (6)
Treatment name(s)

(Lexapro)
Perceived effectiveness
for depressed mood (12 evaluations)
Side effects
drowsiness insomnia 15 more
Total evaluations
16
Tried for
depressed mood (8) anxious mood (6)
1 more
Treatment name(s)

(Lyrica)
Perceived effectiveness
for pain (18 evaluations)
Side effects
weight gain brain fog 7 more
Total evaluations
24
Tried for
pain (10) anxious mood (1)
1 more
Treatment name(s)

(Marijuana)
Perceived effectiveness
for pain (8 evaluations)
Side effects
dry mouth hunger
Total evaluations
8
Tried for
pain (8) anxious mood (2)
3 more
  • 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 4
20s 210
30s 425
40s 432
50s 327
60s 159
70+ 35
Age at first symptom
Age at first symptom Proportion # of patients
0-19 years 283
20-29 years 180
30-39 years 91
40-49 years 37
50-59 years 16
60-69 years 4
70+ years 2

Distribution of sex

Sex
Sex Proportion # of patients
Male 414
Female 1172

Diagnosis status
Diagnosis status Proportion # of patients
Diagnosed 590
Not Diagnosed 298

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