An individual is considered to have a chronic tension-type headache if it lasts a minimum of 15 days every month for the last 3 months. A tension-type headache is typically felt as a band across the forehead that can be uncomfortable but does not disrupt sleep.
Many can continue with activities and not aggravated by physical activity. Nevertheless, it is not unusual for the individual to be sensitive to noise or bright lights. The root of a chronic tension-type headache is often vague.
It is important to note that the severity of the headaches tend to vary from mild to severe. Due to the continuous nature of the headaches, it can be distressing and debilitating and most usually use preventive medications.
The condition is likely to develop among those who start with tension-type headache with increasing frequency until episodes occur on most days. Nevertheless, the reason for the headaches is still vague.
Some of the possible causes include the following:
- Tension in the muscles at the back of the head and neck
- Being stressed out, tired and hunger
- Eye strain such as reading in low light for extended periods
- Excess intake of alcohol or caffeine
- Environmental discomfort such as cold, heat, wind or brightness
- Hereditary in which some individuals are prone to develop headaches if anxious or stressed out
- Pain is comparable to tightness around the forehead or a squeezing sensation in the head.
- Discomfort typically occurs on both sides and spreads down the neck. In some cases, it only affects one side.
- The pain is mild or moderate. Some might be able to continue with activities. In some instances, the headaches can be severe.
- An episode can last from 30 minutes up to 7 days.
- The headache typically occurs during the day and worsens as the day progresses.
- Noise or light sensitivity
When it comes to chronic tension-type headaches, the episodes occur frequently. In some instances, the headache seems permanent and hardly settles.