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I am getting constant headaches that last all day long...

I am getting constant headaches that last all day long. The headaches vary from back of the head to the top of the head. I also have tension in my neck. I am feeling slightly frustrated about my work at the moment but not under any stressful circumstances.

18 September 2019

This ocntent was last reviewed in September 2019 by Lane Wells, a registered nurse in our Health at Hand team.

Thank you for your question.

Headaches that are frequent, happening several times a week or are severe usually should be assessed by your GP to determine the cause in the first instance. From the symptoms you describe it is likely that you are experiencing tension headaches, particularly as you note tension in your neck, which is a common trigger for this type of headache. However I would recommend getting checked by your GP so they can make a firm diagnosis.

Causes of tension headaches

It's worth bearing in mind that although people commonly associate tension headaches with stress there can be multiple possible causes, including:

  • squinting
  • poor posture
  • lack of activity
  • dehydration
  • stress and anxiety.

If any of these apply in your case then it is very possibly related.

Tension headache treatments

The types of treatments for tension headaches will vary according to the cause.

Once identified, it is possible to take corrective action with lifestyle changes such as ensuring you are well hydrated; taking up yoga or Pilates for posture; employing stress and anxiety relieving techniques, such as mediation; counselling or cognitive behaviour therapy; massage; ensuring eye prescriptions and checks are up to date, for example.

Over the counter painkillers can also be used and you can discuss which would be best with your pharmacist. There are several pain killing formulations available as you are probably aware and your pharmacist can help you decide which would be most suitable for you to use.

Some people have also found acupuncture over six to eight weeks has also been beneficial.

You can read more about tension headaches and their treatment here:

Headaches - NHS Factsheet

We hope this information will be helpful and good luck with your GP.

Answered by the Health at Hand team.

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