Texas Allergy Experts

Tension Pressure Headaches 


What is a Pressure Headache?

A pressure headache is in fact considered to be the most common type of headache, and the pain in a pressure headache generally radiates from the neck, back, eyes, or various other muscle groups in the body. A pressure headache can be either episodic or chronic, and the pain involved in a pressure headache is generally described as constant and consistent pressure.

How to Relieve a Pressure Headache

There are many different methods available that you can use to ease and relieve a pressure headache, including both more conventional methods such as prescriptions and medications, as well as natural and alternative methods such as herbal and home remedies. Depending on your own personal preferences and choices, you can select a side of which you prefer, and you can rest assured in knowing that there is a wide selection available for each.

Some of the best and most commonly used ideas are: release any tension and stress from your life that you can; eat something, as pressure headaches are often caused by a person having low-blood sugar; rest, as this will help you to relax and should ease your headache; straighten up your posture, as generally all forms of headaches are connected to poor posture and problems with the spinal cord and central nervous system; and massage is another popular option.

Some other ideas and lifestyle changes that are considered to be able to help pressure headaches are: getting adequate sleep, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, quitting smoking, along with relaxation techniques.

Consulting your doctor is also important here as he can properly diagnose you and help you consider the best available options for your particular situation. There are also over-the-counter pain relievers that are used for headaches such as pressure headaches, and are generally considered to be an effective method of pain relief in this situation. Some of the products that are most commonly included here are such things as acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen.

However, if all of the available over-the-counter approaches fail for you, your doctor can also then decide to describe a more potent selection of medications, such as naproxen, ibuprofen, diclofenac, tolmetin, or ketoprofin, for example. There is also the use of certain herbs, as well as the related option of acupressure and aromatherapy techniques, which are all time-honored approaches to strengthening the body and treating disease.


DIAGNOSIS — Though only a small minority of patients with headache have brain tumor as the cause, it is crucial to recognize those headache characteristics that are associated with tumors. Because of the variable nature of headache among patients with brain tumor, the diagnosis of headache attributed to brain tumor should be considered in patients who complain of a headache with any of the following "red flags" [40]:

  • Acute, new, usually severe headache or headache that has changed from previous patterns

  • New headache onset in an adult, especially over 50 years of age

  • Headache in the elderly or in children

  • Headache on exertion, onset at night, or onset at early morning

  • Headache that is progressive in nature

  • Headache associated with fever or other systemic symptoms

  • Headache with meningismus

  • Headache with new neurologic signs

  • Precipitation of head pain with the Valsalva maneuver (by coughing, sneezing, or bending over)

In patients with any of the above complaints, further investigation with neuroimaging should be pursued.

Neuroimaging — Head CT or MRI is indicated whenever there is reasonable clinical suspicion that the 

Cough headache is not infrequent, but there have not been any series studied with current neuroimaging techniques, and effective therapy has seldom been reported. In a large series from an outpatient clinic of a general hospital, we have studied, with MRI, eight cases of headache related to situations provoking sudden increase of intrathoracic pressure (cough, straining, stooping), similar to that elicited by a Valsalva's maneuver. One case showed hindbrain herniation and another showed isolated hydrocephalus. Symptoms did not differ between these two cases and the six cases without MRI abnormality. Initial symptoms presented between 49 and 67 years of age, and headache was of variable location and duration, mostly global and short-lasting. During a mean follow-up of 13.3 months, one patientbecame spontaneously asymptomatic, one improved on indomethacin, and two improved after treatment with propranolol. We propose the eponym, benign Valsalva's maneuver-related headache (as more appropriate than the equivalent “cough headache”), for cases in which headache is related to such situations and structural lesions are excluded by MRI or similar tests.