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.
Last updated:

Treatments taken by people with tension headache

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

(Ultram)
Type
Prescription Drug
How many have tried
21
Tried for
pain (21)
Treatment name(s)

(Tylenol)
Type
Over the Counter Drug
How many have tried
19
Tried for
tension headache (15) pain (8)
Treatment name(s)

(Neurontin)
Type
Prescription Drug
How many have tried
14
Tried for
pain (14)
Treatment name(s)

(Elavil)
Type
Prescription Drug
How many have tried
11
Tried for
pain (7) tension headache (5)
1 more
Treatment name(s)

(Flexeril)
Type
Prescription Drug
How many have tried
11
Tried for
pain (10) tension headache (1)
Treatment name(s)

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

(Cymbalta)
Type
Prescription Drug
How many have tried
9
Tried for
depressed mood (9)
Treatment name(s)

(Ibuprofen Prescription)
Type
Over the Counter Drug
How many have tried
9
Tried for
pain (6) tension headache (5)
Treatment name(s)

(Marijuana)
Type
Other
How many have tried
8
Tried for
pain (7) anxious mood (2)
3 more
Treatment name(s)

(Lyrica)
Type
Prescription Drug
How many have tried
8
Tried for
pain (8) anxious mood (1)
1 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)

(Ultram)
Perceived effectiveness
for pain (19 evaluations)
Side effects
nausea sleepiness 12 more
Total evaluations
19
Tried for
pain (21)
Treatment name(s)

(Tylenol)
Perceived effectiveness
for tension headache (7 evaluations)
Side effects
balance problems
Total evaluations
13
Tried for
tension headache (15) pain (8)
Treatment name(s)

(Neurontin)
Perceived effectiveness
for pain (5 evaluations)
Side effects
drowsiness dizziness 3 more
Total evaluations
7
Tried for
pain (14)
Treatment name(s)

(Elavil)
Perceived effectiveness
for pain (5 evaluations)
Side effects
constipation dry mouth 7 more
Total evaluations
8
Tried for
pain (7) tension headache (5)
1 more
Treatment name(s)

(Flexeril)
Perceived effectiveness
for pain (14 evaluations)
Side effects
drowsiness constipation 9 more
Total evaluations
15
Tried for
pain (10) tension headache (1)
Treatment name(s)

(Lexapro)
Perceived effectiveness
for depressed mood (13 evaluations)
Side effects
drowsiness insomnia 15 more
Total evaluations
15
Tried for
depressed mood (8) anxious mood (6)
2 more
Treatment name(s)

(Cymbalta)
Perceived effectiveness
for depressed mood (7 evaluations)
Side effects
sweating tension headache 14 more
Total evaluations
7
Tried for
depressed mood (9)
Treatment name(s)

(Ibuprofen Prescription)
Perceived effectiveness
for pain (4 evaluations)
Side effects
acid reflux
Total evaluations
6
Tried for
pain (6) tension headache (5)
Treatment name(s)

(Marijuana)
Perceived effectiveness
for pain (8 evaluations)
Side effects
dry mouth hunger
Total evaluations
8
Tried for
pain (7) anxious mood (2)
3 more
Treatment name(s)

(Lyrica)
Perceived effectiveness
for pain (12 evaluations)
Side effects
weight gain dizziness 4 more
Total evaluations
18
Tried for
pain (8) anxious mood (1)
1 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.
Last updated:

Who has tension headache on PatientsLikeMe?


Age
Age Proportion # of patients
<20 5
20s 204
30s 422
40s 453
50s 331
60s 172
70+ 40
Age at first symptom
Age at first symptom Proportion # of patients
0-19 years 283
20-29 years 181
30-39 years 93
40-49 years 36
50-59 years 15
60-69 years 4
70+ years 2

Distribution of sex

Sex
Sex Proportion # of patients
Male 425
Female 1,198

Diagnosis status
Diagnosis status Proportion # of patients
Diagnosed 594
Not Diagnosed 296

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