The International Headache Society (IHS) diagnostic criteria for tension-type headaches state that two of the following characteristics must be present:
Pressing or tightening (nonpulsatile quality)
Not aggravated by physical activity
In addition, headaches must fulfill the following characteristics to be classified as tension-type headache by the IHS:
Duration of 30 minutes to 7 days
No nausea or vomiting (anorexia may occur)
Photophobia or phonophobia, but not both
Minimum of 10 previous headache episodes; fewer than 12 days per year with headache is considered infrequent, and 12 or more days with headache but less than 180 days per year is considered frequent
Other features of tension-type headaches may include:
Bilateral and occipitonuchal or bifrontal pain
Pain described as "fullness, tightness/squeezing, pressure," or "bandlike/viselike"
May occur acutely under emotional distress or intense worry
Often present upon rising or shortly thereafter
Muscular tightness or stiffness in the neck, occipital, and frontal regions, with increased pericranial tenderness on palpation
Duration of more than 5 years in 75% of patients with chronic headaches
Tension-type headache onset often occurs during the teenage years and affects 3 women for every 2 men.
On the basis of the IHS criteria, pain in tension-type headache is not throbbing (pulsating); however, many individuals who have frequent tension-type headaches also have migraine without aura. Pain onset in tension-type headache is usually more gradual than onset in migraines. Compared with migraines, tension-type headaches are more variable in duration, more constant in quality, and less severe.
For more on tension-type headaches, read here.
Medscape © 2017 WebMD, LLC
Any views expressed above are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of WebMD or Medscape.
Cite this: Amy Kao. Fast Five Quiz: Test Your Clinical Knowledge of Various Types of Headaches - Medscape - Nov 30, 2017.