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Tension Headaches

Tension headache is the most common of the primary headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess disorders and one of the most common disorders presenting for medical evaluation worldwide. Tension headaches are generally described as bilateral, non-throbbing, and of mild to moderate severity. There is no aura Aura Reversible neurological phenomena that often precede or coincide with headache onset. Migraine Headache or other associated features. The diagnosis is clinical, often self-diagnosed by the patient or in the primary care setting. Management consists of abortive analgesics, such as NSAIDs NSAIDS Primary vs Secondary Headaches and aspirin Aspirin The prototypical analgesic used in the treatment of mild to moderate pain. It has anti-inflammatory and antipyretic properties and acts as an inhibitor of cyclooxygenase which results in the inhibition of the biosynthesis of prostaglandins. Aspirin also inhibits platelet aggregation and is used in the prevention of arterial and venous thrombosis. Nonsteroidal Antiinflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) for isolated attacks, and preventative measures, such as behavioral changes, biofeedback Biofeedback The therapy technique of providing the status of one's own autonomic nervous system function (e.g., skin temperature, heartbeats, brain waves) as visual or auditory feedback in order to self-control related conditions (e.g., hypertension, migraine headaches). Psychotherapy, and preventative administration of medication for more chronic attacks.

Last updated: Jul 6, 2022

Editorial responsibility: Stanley Oiseth, Lindsay Jones, Evelin Maza

Overview

Definition

A tension headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess attack is defined by the following features:

  • Mild to moderate intensity
  • Bilateral
  • Non-throbbing 
  • With or without pericranial muscle tenderness
  • Generally without other associated symptoms
    • No aura Aura Reversible neurological phenomena that often precede or coincide with headache onset. Migraine Headache
    • No focal neurologic symptoms
    • No photophobia Photophobia Abnormal sensitivity to light. This may occur as a manifestation of eye diseases; migraine; subarachnoid hemorrhage; meningitis; and other disorders. Photophobia may also occur in association with depression and other mental disorders. Migraine Headache
    • No phonophobia Phonophobia Specific Phobias
    • No nausea Nausea An unpleasant sensation in the stomach usually accompanied by the urge to vomit. Common causes are early pregnancy, sea and motion sickness, emotional stress, intense pain, food poisoning, and various enteroviruses. Antiemetics or vomiting Vomiting The forcible expulsion of the contents of the stomach through the mouth. Hypokalemia

Classification

Three primary headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess disorders:

  1. Migraine headache Migraine Headache Migraine headache is a primary headache disorder and is among the most prevalent disorders in the world. Migraine is characterized by episodic, moderate to severe headaches that may be associated with increased sensitivity to light and sound, as well as nausea and/or vomiting. Migraine Headache
  2. Cluster headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess
  3. Tension headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess

Three tension headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess subtypes:

  1. Infrequent episodic tension headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess: ≤ 1 headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess day per month
  2. Frequent episodic tension headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess: 2–14 headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess days per month
  3. Chronic tension headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess: ≥ 15 headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess days per month

Epidemiology

  • Most prevalent headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess in the general population 
  • Major cause of lost work productivity
  • Prevalence Prevalence The total number of cases of a given disease in a specified population at a designated time. It is differentiated from incidence, which refers to the number of new cases in the population at a given time. Measures of Disease Frequency: affects about 75% of the population at some point
  • Women > men
  • Most common subtype: infrequent episodic

Pathophysiology

The pathophysiology of tension headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess is multifactorial, but the precise mechanisms are largely unknown. Pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways mechanisms are dynamic and vary from 1 individual to another.

Peripheral activation

Activation of myofascial nociceptors Nociceptors Peripheral afferent neurons which are sensitive to injuries or pain, usually caused by extreme thermal exposures, mechanical forces, or other noxious stimuli. Their cell bodies reside in the dorsal root ganglia. Their peripheral terminals (nerve endings) innervate target tissues and transduce noxious stimuli via axons to the central nervous system. Pain: Types and Pathways due to exposure to noxious environmental stimuli:

  • Most likely mechanism in infrequent episodic tension headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess
  • Environmental stimuli may include (but are not limited to):
    • Stress
    • Mental/emotional tension
    • Bright light
    • Loud noises
    • Smells
    • Hunger
    • Ambient temperature extremes
    • Caps/headbands/ponytails
    • Suboptimal/improper vision Vision Ophthalmic Exam correction
    • Pericranial muscle tension

Peripheral sensitization

Sensitization of myofascial nociceptors Nociceptors Peripheral afferent neurons which are sensitive to injuries or pain, usually caused by extreme thermal exposures, mechanical forces, or other noxious stimuli. Their cell bodies reside in the dorsal root ganglia. Their peripheral terminals (nerve endings) innervate target tissues and transduce noxious stimuli via axons to the central nervous system. Pain: Types and Pathways:

  • Due to persistent exposure to noxious environmental stimuli
  • Lower pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways threshold Threshold Minimum voltage necessary to generate an action potential (an all-or-none response) Skeletal Muscle Contraction to normally noxious stimuli
  • Development of latent trigger Trigger The type of signal that initiates the inspiratory phase by the ventilator Invasive Mechanical Ventilation points in pericranial musculature
  • Likely mechanism in frequent episodic tension headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess
  • Stepping stone to the development of chronic tension headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess

Central sensitization Central sensitization Increased responsiveness of nociceptive neurons in the central nervous system to normal or subthreshold input. Pain: Types and Pathways

Sensitization of pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways pathways in the central nervous system Central nervous system The main information-processing organs of the nervous system, consisting of the brain, spinal cord, and meninges. Nervous System: Anatomy, Structure, and Classification:

  • Likely mechanism in chronic tension headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess
  • Due to prolonged nociceptive stimuli from peripherally sensitized pericranial myofascial tissues
  • Lower pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways threshold Threshold Minimum voltage necessary to generate an action potential (an all-or-none response) Skeletal Muscle Contraction to normally noxious stimuli (hypersensitivity)
  • Normally innocuous stimuli are misinterpreted as pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways ( allodynia Allodynia Pain due to a stimulus that does not typically provoke pain. Pain Management):
    • Increased facilitation of pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways transmission at the spinal dorsal horn Dorsal horn One of three central columns of the spinal cord. It is composed of gray matter spinal laminae i-vi. Brown-Séquard Syndrome/trigeminal nucleus Nucleus Within a eukaryotic cell, a membrane-limited body which contains chromosomes and one or more nucleoli (cell nucleolus). The nuclear membrane consists of a double unit-type membrane which is perforated by a number of pores; the outermost membrane is continuous with the endoplasmic reticulum. A cell may contain more than one nucleus. The Cell: Organelles
    • Decreased inhibition of pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways transmission at the spinal dorsal horn Dorsal horn One of three central columns of the spinal cord. It is composed of gray matter spinal laminae i-vi. Brown-Séquard Syndrome/trigeminal nucleus Nucleus Within a eukaryotic cell, a membrane-limited body which contains chromosomes and one or more nucleoli (cell nucleolus). The nuclear membrane consists of a double unit-type membrane which is perforated by a number of pores; the outermost membrane is continuous with the endoplasmic reticulum. A cell may contain more than one nucleus. The Cell: Organelles
    • Increased pericranial muscle activity

Genetic factors

Genetic factors have been shown to play a role in the pathogenesis of chronic tension headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess.

  • 1st-degree relatives of individuals with chronic tension headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess have > 3-fold risk of chronic tension headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess.
  • Multifactorial inheritance pattern proposed but not proven

Clinical Presentation

Tension headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess may present with wide variation in frequency and intensity between individuals, in the same individual over time, and from 1 attack to another in the same individual.

History

  • Classic pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways descriptors:
    • Dull
    • Pressure
    • Head fullness
    • Head feels large
    • Like a tight cap
    • Band-like
    • Heavy weight on head or shoulders
  • Features:
    • Typically bilateral
    • Duration from 30 minutes to several days
    • Not worsened by physical activity
    • Pericranial muscle tension
    • Presence of myofascial trigger Trigger The type of signal that initiates the inspiratory phase by the ventilator Invasive Mechanical Ventilation points

Physical exam

Tension headache

Illustration showing the pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways locations for different types of headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess
TMJ: temporomandibular joint

Image by Lecturio.

Diagnosis

Diagnostic criteria

  • 10 episodes of headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess, 30 minutes to 7 days in length, with at least 2 of the following:
    • Bilateral location
    • Pressing or tightening (nonpulsating) quality Quality Activities and programs intended to assure or improve the quality of care in either a defined medical setting or a program. The concept includes the assessment or evaluation of the quality of care; identification of problems or shortcomings in the delivery of care; designing activities to overcome these deficiencies; and follow-up monitoring to ensure effectiveness of corrective steps. Quality Measurement and Improvement
    • Mild or moderate intensity
    • Not aggravated by routine physical activity (walking, climbing stairs)
  • Exclusions:
    • No nausea Nausea An unpleasant sensation in the stomach usually accompanied by the urge to vomit. Common causes are early pregnancy, sea and motion sickness, emotional stress, intense pain, food poisoning, and various enteroviruses. Antiemetics or vomiting Vomiting The forcible expulsion of the contents of the stomach through the mouth. Hypokalemia
    • No more than 1 of:
      • Photophobia Photophobia Abnormal sensitivity to light. This may occur as a manifestation of eye diseases; migraine; subarachnoid hemorrhage; meningitis; and other disorders. Photophobia may also occur in association with depression and other mental disorders. Migraine Headache
      • Phonophobia Phonophobia Specific Phobias
  • Classification by chronicity:
    • Infrequent episodic tension headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess: ≤ 1 headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess day per month
    • Frequent episodic tension headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess: 2–14 headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess days per month
    • Chronic tension headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess: ≥ 15 headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess days per month

Laboratory evaluation

Laboratory evaluation is indicated only in the following cases:

  • Suspected infectious Infectious Febrile Infant process
  • Suspected organ dysfunction
  • Suspected volume depletion Volume depletion Volume status is a balance between water and solutes, the majority of which is Na. Volume depletion refers to a loss of both water and Na, whereas dehydration refers only to a loss of water. Volume depletion can be caused by GI losses, renal losses, bleeding, poor oral Na intake, or third spacing of fluids. Volume Depletion and Dehydration/overload
  • Suspected electrolyte disturbance

Laboratory testing should be specific to suspected underlying cause(s):

  • Suspected infectious Infectious Febrile Infant process:
    • CBC
    • CSF studies
  • Suspected organ dysfunction:
    • Cardiac biomarkers
    • BUN, creatinine (renal function)
    • AST AST Enzymes of the transferase class that catalyze the conversion of l-aspartate and 2-ketoglutarate to oxaloacetate and l-glutamate. Liver Function Tests/ ALT ALT An enzyme that catalyzes the conversion of l-alanine and 2-oxoglutarate to pyruvate and l-glutamate. Liver Function Tests (hepatic function)
  • Suspected volume depletion Volume depletion Volume status is a balance between water and solutes, the majority of which is Na. Volume depletion refers to a loss of both water and Na, whereas dehydration refers only to a loss of water. Volume depletion can be caused by GI losses, renal losses, bleeding, poor oral Na intake, or third spacing of fluids. Volume Depletion and Dehydration/overload:
    • BUN/creatinine (renal function)
    • AST AST Enzymes of the transferase class that catalyze the conversion of l-aspartate and 2-ketoglutarate to oxaloacetate and l-glutamate. Liver Function Tests/ ALT ALT An enzyme that catalyzes the conversion of l-alanine and 2-oxoglutarate to pyruvate and l-glutamate. Liver Function Tests (hepatic function)
    • BNP BNP A peptide that is secreted by the brain and the heart atria, stored mainly in cardiac ventricular myocardium. It can cause natriuresis; diuresis; vasodilation; and inhibits secretion of renin and aldosterone. It improves heart function. It contains 32 amino acids. Renal Sodium and Water Regulation (indicates heart failure Heart Failure A heterogeneous condition in which the heart is unable to pump out sufficient blood to meet the metabolic need of the body. Heart failure can be caused by structural defects, functional abnormalities (ventricular dysfunction), or a sudden overload beyond its capacity. Chronic heart failure is more common than acute heart failure which results from sudden insult to cardiac function, such as myocardial infarction. Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (TAPVR))
    • Thyroid Thyroid The thyroid gland is one of the largest endocrine glands in the human body. The thyroid gland is a highly vascular, brownish-red gland located in the visceral compartment of the anterior region of the neck. Thyroid Gland: Anatomy studies
  • Suspected electrolyte disturbance: chemistry panel or electrolyte panel

Imaging

Imaging is indicated only in the following cases:

  • Red-flag headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess symptoms
  • Focal neurologic findings 
  • Headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess does not classify as any of the primary headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess disorders.

Imaging modalities:

  • MRI of the brain Brain The part of central nervous system that is contained within the skull (cranium). Arising from the neural tube, the embryonic brain is comprised of three major parts including prosencephalon (the forebrain); mesencephalon (the midbrain); and rhombencephalon (the hindbrain). The developed brain consists of cerebrum; cerebellum; and other structures in the brain stem. Nervous System: Anatomy, Structure, and Classification with and without contrast is the test of choice. 
  • CT is faster for triage of suspected acute intracranial hemorrhage Intracranial hemorrhage Subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is a type of cerebrovascular accident (stroke) resulting from intracranial hemorrhage into the subarachnoid space between the arachnoid and the pia mater layers of the meninges surrounding the brain. Most sahs originate from a saccular aneurysm in the circle of willis but may also occur as a result of trauma, uncontrolled hypertension, vasculitis, anticoagulant use, or stimulant use. Subarachnoid Hemorrhage.

Management

Treatment of tension headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess is usually self-directed by sufferers using over-the-counter analgesics without seeking any medical attention Attention Focusing on certain aspects of current experience to the exclusion of others. It is the act of heeding or taking notice or concentrating. Psychiatric Assessment or direction. The primary care physician should be able to diagnose and manage tension headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess without the need for specialist consultation.

Abortive therapy

  • 1st-line medication: simple analgesics Simple Analgesics Primary vs Secondary Headaches (single ingredient, nonopioid, nonbarbiturate):
    • Aspirin Aspirin The prototypical analgesic used in the treatment of mild to moderate pain. It has anti-inflammatory and antipyretic properties and acts as an inhibitor of cyclooxygenase which results in the inhibition of the biosynthesis of prostaglandins. Aspirin also inhibits platelet aggregation and is used in the prevention of arterial and venous thrombosis. Nonsteroidal Antiinflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
  • 2nd-line medication:
    • Compound analgesics Compound Analgesics Primary vs Secondary Headaches (1 or more ingredients, most commonly caffeine Caffeine A methylxanthine naturally occurring in some beverages and also used as a pharmacological agent. Caffeine’s most notable pharmacological effect is as a central nervous system stimulant, increasing alertness and producing agitation. Several cellular actions of caffeine have been observed, but it is not entirely clear how each contributes to its pharmacological profile. Among the most important are inhibition of cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterases, antagonism of adenosine receptors, and modulation of intracellular calcium handling. Stimulants, butalbital, or a weak opioid Opioid Compounds with activity like opiate alkaloids, acting at opioid receptors. Properties include induction of analgesia or narcosis. Constipation):
      • Simple analgesics Simple Analgesics Primary vs Secondary Headaches + caffeine Caffeine A methylxanthine naturally occurring in some beverages and also used as a pharmacological agent. Caffeine’s most notable pharmacological effect is as a central nervous system stimulant, increasing alertness and producing agitation. Several cellular actions of caffeine have been observed, but it is not entirely clear how each contributes to its pharmacological profile. Among the most important are inhibition of cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterases, antagonism of adenosine receptors, and modulation of intracellular calcium handling. Stimulants 
      • Simple analgesics Simple Analgesics Primary vs Secondary Headaches + codeine Codeine An opioid analgesic related to morphine but with less potent analgesic properties and mild sedative effects. It also acts centrally to suppress cough. Opioid Analgesics 
      • Simple analgesics Simple Analgesics Primary vs Secondary Headaches + butalbital 
    • Chlorpromazine Chlorpromazine The prototypical phenothiazine antipsychotic drug. Like the other drugs in this class chlorpromazine’s antipsychotic actions are thought to be due to long-term adaptation by the brain to blocking dopamine receptors. Chlorpromazine has several other actions and therapeutic uses, including as an antiemetic and in the treatment of intractable hiccup. First-Generation Antipsychotics
    • Metoclopramide Metoclopramide A dopamine d2 antagonist that is used as an antiemetic. Antiemetics
    • Ketorolac ( NSAID NSAID Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are a class of medications consisting of aspirin, reversible NSAIDs, and selective NSAIDs. NSAIDs are used as antiplatelet, analgesic, antipyretic, and antiinflammatory agents. Nonsteroidal Antiinflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs))
    • Triptans Triptans Triptans and ergot alkaloids are agents used mainly for the management of acute migraines. The therapeutic effect is induced by binding to serotonin receptors, which causes reduced vasoactive neuropeptide release, pain conduction, and intracranial vasoconstriction. Triptans and Ergot Alkaloids
  • Most effective if administered soon after symptom onset
  • Frequency of dosing should be limited to avoid medication overuse headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess (rebound effect), especially for combination drugs containing:
    • Caffeine Caffeine A methylxanthine naturally occurring in some beverages and also used as a pharmacological agent. Caffeine’s most notable pharmacological effect is as a central nervous system stimulant, increasing alertness and producing agitation. Several cellular actions of caffeine have been observed, but it is not entirely clear how each contributes to its pharmacological profile. Among the most important are inhibition of cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterases, antagonism of adenosine receptors, and modulation of intracellular calcium handling. Stimulants
    • Codeine Codeine An opioid analgesic related to morphine but with less potent analgesic properties and mild sedative effects. It also acts centrally to suppress cough. Opioid Analgesics
    • Butalbital

Preventative therapy

  • Considered in management as frequency of attacks increases
  • Indicated for:
    • Chronic tension headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess 
    • Selected cases of frequent tension headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess 
    • Acute therapy failure/intolerance
    • Prevention/treatment of medication overuse headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess
  • Pharmacologic therapy:
    • Antidepressants
    • Anticonvulsants
    • Botulinum toxin Botulinum toxin Toxic proteins produced from the species Clostridium botulinum. The toxins are synthesized as a single peptide chain which is processed into a mature protein consisting of a heavy chain and light chain joined via a disulfide bond. The botulinum toxin light chain is a zinc-dependent protease which is released from the heavy chain upon endocytosis into presynaptic nerve endings. Once inside the cell the botulinum toxin light chain cleaves specific snare proteins which are essential for secretion of acetylcholine by synaptic vesicles. This inhibition of acetylcholine release results in muscular paralysis. Botulism ( headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess protocol)
  • Nonpharmacologic therapies:
    • Neuromodulation (low-frequency electrical stimulation) 
    • Trigger Trigger The type of signal that initiates the inspiratory phase by the ventilator Invasive Mechanical Ventilation point injections
    • Acupuncture
  • Behavioral approaches:
    • Lifestyle modifications
      • Regular Regular Insulin sleep Sleep A readily reversible suspension of sensorimotor interaction with the environment, usually associated with recumbency and immobility. Physiology of Sleep
      • Exercise
      • Diet
    • CBT
    • Relaxation
    • Biofeedback Biofeedback The therapy technique of providing the status of one’s own autonomic nervous system function (e.g., skin temperature, heartbeats, brain waves) as visual or auditory feedback in order to self-control related conditions (e.g., hypertension, migraine headaches). Psychotherapy

Differential Diagnosis

  • Cluster headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess: primary headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess that is severe and unilateral, often around the eye, with a duration of minutes up to 3 hours. More common in men. Patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship typically present with accompanying autonomic symptoms Autonomic Symptoms Cluster Headaches, such as nasal congestion and swelling Swelling Inflammation or watering of the eye. Diagnosis is clinical based on the typical symptoms. Management includes administration of oxygen and triptans Triptans Triptans and ergot alkaloids are agents used mainly for the management of acute migraines. The therapeutic effect is induced by binding to serotonin receptors, which causes reduced vasoactive neuropeptide release, pain conduction, and intracranial vasoconstriction. Triptans and Ergot Alkaloids and avoiding triggers Triggers Hereditary Angioedema (C1 Esterase Inhibitor Deficiency), such as smoking Smoking Willful or deliberate act of inhaling and exhaling smoke from burning substances or agents held by hand. Interstitial Lung Diseases and alcohol.
  • Migraine headache Migraine Headache Migraine headache is a primary headache disorder and is among the most prevalent disorders in the world. Migraine is characterized by episodic, moderate to severe headaches that may be associated with increased sensitivity to light and sound, as well as nausea and/or vomiting. Migraine Headache: type of primary headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess that is severe, generally described as unilateral and throbbing, and associated with neurological symptoms, such as nausea Nausea An unpleasant sensation in the stomach usually accompanied by the urge to vomit. Common causes are early pregnancy, sea and motion sickness, emotional stress, intense pain, food poisoning, and various enteroviruses. Antiemetics and/or light and sound sensitivity. Migraine Migraine Migraine headache is a primary headache disorder and is among the most prevalent disorders in the world. Migraine is characterized by episodic, moderate to severe headaches that may be associated with increased sensitivity to light and sound, as well as nausea and/or vomiting. Migraine Headache attacks last between 4 and 72 hours and are more common in women. Patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship may experience an aura Aura Reversible neurological phenomena that often precede or coincide with headache onset. Migraine Headache before the onset of the headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess, such as visual phenomena, tingling Tingling Posterior Cord Syndrome of the skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions, or difficulty speaking. Diagnosis is clinical based on the typical symptoms. Management includes avoiding loud noises and light and the administration of simple analgesics Simple Analgesics Primary vs Secondary Headaches and/or triptans Triptans Triptans and ergot alkaloids are agents used mainly for the management of acute migraines. The therapeutic effect is induced by binding to serotonin receptors, which causes reduced vasoactive neuropeptide release, pain conduction, and intracranial vasoconstriction. Triptans and Ergot Alkaloids.
  • Medication overuse headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess: also called rebound headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess. A type of secondary headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess in patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship who have frequent or daily headaches despite, or because of, the regular Regular Insulin use of headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess medications. Medication overuse headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess is usually preceded by an episodic primary headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess disorder that has been treated with excessive amounts of abortive medications, especially combination drugs with caffeine Caffeine A methylxanthine naturally occurring in some beverages and also used as a pharmacological agent. Caffeine’s most notable pharmacological effect is as a central nervous system stimulant, increasing alertness and producing agitation. Several cellular actions of caffeine have been observed, but it is not entirely clear how each contributes to its pharmacological profile. Among the most important are inhibition of cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterases, antagonism of adenosine receptors, and modulation of intracellular calcium handling. Stimulants and codeine Codeine An opioid analgesic related to morphine but with less potent analgesic properties and mild sedative effects. It also acts centrally to suppress cough. Opioid Analgesics. Management includes a gradual reduction of the dose.
  • Cervicogenic headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess: headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess caused by referred pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways from the upper cervical joints. Typically unilateral, moderate to severe intensity, increased by movement of the head, with radiation Radiation Emission or propagation of acoustic waves (sound), electromagnetic energy waves (such as light; radio waves; gamma rays; or x-rays), or a stream of subatomic particles (such as electrons; neutrons; protons; or alpha particles). Osteosarcoma from occipital Occipital Part of the back and base of the cranium that encloses the foramen magnum. Skull: Anatomy to frontal Frontal The bone that forms the frontal aspect of the skull. Its flat part forms the forehead, articulating inferiorly with the nasal bone and the cheek bone on each side of the face. Skull: Anatomy regions. Diagnosis is clinical based on typical symptoms. Management includes simple analgesics Simple Analgesics Primary vs Secondary Headaches, physical therapy Physical Therapy Becker Muscular Dystrophy, nerve blocks, or spinal manipulation. 
  • Sinus headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess: headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess that occurs in the setting of acute or chronic sinusitis Sinusitis Sinusitis refers to inflammation of the mucosal lining of the paranasal sinuses. The condition usually occurs concurrently with inflammation of the nasal mucosa (rhinitis), a condition known as rhinosinusitis. Acute sinusitis is due to an upper respiratory infection caused by a viral, bacterial, or fungal agent. Sinusitis. The pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways is typically described as constant and deep around the cheeks Cheeks The part of the face that is below the eye and to the side of the nose and mouth. Melasma, forehead Forehead The part of the face above the eyes. Melasma, or bridge of the nose Nose The nose is the human body’s primary organ of smell and functions as part of the upper respiratory system. The nose may be best known for inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide, but it also contributes to other important functions, such as tasting. The anatomy of the nose can be divided into the external nose and the nasal cavity. Nose and Nasal Cavity: Anatomy. Sinus headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess is associated with symptoms including a runny nose Nose The nose is the human body’s primary organ of smell and functions as part of the upper respiratory system. The nose may be best known for inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide, but it also contributes to other important functions, such as tasting. The anatomy of the nose can be divided into the external nose and the nasal cavity. Nose and Nasal Cavity: Anatomy, swelling Swelling Inflammation or tearing of the eyes, and fever Fever Fever is defined as a measured body temperature of at least 38°C (100.4°F). Fever is caused by circulating endogenous and/or exogenous pyrogens that increase levels of prostaglandin E2 in the hypothalamus. Fever is commonly associated with chills, rigors, sweating, and flushing of the skin. Fever. Management includes decongestants, antihistamines Antihistamines Antihistamines are drugs that target histamine receptors, particularly H1 and H2 receptors. H1 antagonists are competitive and reversible inhibitors of H1 receptors. First-generation antihistamines cross the blood-brain barrier and can cause sedation. Antihistamines in case of allergy Allergy An abnormal adaptive immune response that may or may not involve antigen-specific IgE Type I Hypersensitivity Reaction, and antibiotics in the presence of a bacterial infection.

References

  1. Taylor F. (2020). Tension-type headache in adults: Pathophysiology, clinical features, and diagnosis. Retrieved July 18, 2021, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/tension-type-headache-in-adults-pathophysiology-clinical-features-and-diagnosis
  2. Taylor F. (2020). Tension-type headache in adults: Acute treatment. Retrieved July 18, 2021, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/tension-type-headache-in-adults-acute-treatment
  3. Taylor F. (2020). Tension-type headache in adults: Preventive treatment. Retrieved July 18, 2021, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/tension-type-headache-in-adults-preventive-treatment
  4. American Migraine Foundation. Tension-type headache. Retrieved July 19, 2021, from https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/resource-library/tension-type-headache/ 

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