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Tension Headaches

Tension-type headache is a term used to describe a headache causing mild to moderate pain that often feels like a tight band across your forehead or pressure around the head and neck. These headaches may be provoked by the stress of everyday life, eyestrain or poor posture. They are not worsened by routine activity, and therefore usually don't prevent people from going about their daily activities.

Typically, the pain is not troublesome enough to cause sufferers to see a doctor. People who get tension-type headache do not experience sensitivity to light, sound, or movement, and they do not experience nausea or vomiting.

The underlying cause of tension-type headache is unknown.

Our Approach to Tension Headaches

Our headache specialists – neurologists who focus on treating headaches – provide comprehensive assessments and care. We offer a range of medication options for tension headaches, including drugs that help prevent them and others that treat the headache pain. We see patients from around the world who have difficult-to-treat headache disorders, and are committed to delivering effective care with the utmost compassion and respect. When needed, our specialists work closely with other experts at UCSF, such as alternative medicine providers, to better manage tension headaches.

Awards & recognition

  • usnews-neurology

    Among the top hospitals in the nation

  • usnews-neurology

    Best in California and No. 2 in the nation for neurology & neurosurgery

UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.