Tension Headaches

Tension headaches are the most common type of headache, but that doesn’t make dealing with them any easier.

Patients experiencing recurring or severe tension headaches can find relief through the AHN Headache Center.

What are tension headaches? 

Tension headaches often result from stress or anxiety. They’re the most common type of headache and often occur after a hard day at work or while dealing with other challenges. 


These headaches can feel like a pounding sensation, a dull ache, or pressure — like there’s a tight band around your head. You may also feel some tenderness in your scalp, neck, jaw, or shoulders. While the symptoms of tension headaches and migraines are similar, tension headaches usually don’t cause visual disturbances, nausea, or vomiting. 

Tension headache care at AHN: Why choose us?

No matter what kind of headache you’re experiencing, the AHN Headache Center is equipped to deal with all manner of headaches — from diagnosis through treatment. You can work with headache specialists, and you’ll have access to a wide variety of cutting-edge medications, therapies, and interventions to reduce or eliminate your pain and keep it from returning.    

How we diagnose tension headache

Tension headaches are commonly diagnosed through discussing your symptoms. Your doctor will want to know:

  • How your pain “acts.” Is it dull? Does it pulse? Or does it feel sharp?
  • Where your pain is. Do you feel it right behind your eyes? Is it on one side of your head? Or do you feel it all over?
  • How bad your pain is. Does it just feel bothersome, or does it keep you from doing various activities, up to and including sleeping? 

In some more severe cases, your doctor may want to conduct imaging tests like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computerized tomography (CT scan) to rule out serious physical causes of your headache.  

How we treat tension headache

When mild tension headaches occur, they usually go away on their own. They can also improve with over-the-counter pain relievers or with home remedies like resting in a quiet place or using cool compresses. If you experience severe or frequent tension headaches, your physician may recommend a combination of at-home treatments and prescription medication.

Other treatments may include preventive medications, lifestyle changes to reduce stress (like diet, sleep, and exercise), and even posture correction. 

Contact us

To request an appointment at the AHN Headache Center, call (412) 578-3925 in Pittsburgh or (814) 452-7575 in Erie.

Find us

AHN Headache Center
West Penn Hospital
4815 Liberty Avenue, Suite 439
Pittsburgh, PA 15224

Get directions