A tension headache causes pain and pressure at the back of the head, according to Mayo Clinic. Other symptoms of a tension headache include dull pain around the head, tenderness in the scalp, shoulder muscles or neck, and pressure across the forehead.
There are two main types of tension headaches, episodic and chronic, explains Mayo Clinic. An episodic tension headache may last for as little as 30 minutes to up to a week or more. Episodic tension headaches occur 15 days out of a month or less for a minimum of three months, and these headaches may turn chronic. A chronic tension headache is one that lasts for several hours and may occur continuously. Chronic headaches occur 15 days out of the month or more for a minimum of three months.
Most people treat tension headaches at home, but if a tension headache causes disruption to everyday life and a person takes medication more than two times a week, it is important to see a doctor, states Mayo Clinic. If a person has a history of headaches, if there is a change of pattern or if the headaches feel different, it is best to see a doctor. If there is a severe, abrupt headache or a headache following a head injury, it is important to seek out emergency treatment. People who have headaches with mental confusion, fever, stiff neck, double vision or seizures should also seek out emergency treatment.