Differences and similarities between tension and sinus headaches
What is a tension headache?
Tension headache, also called muscle contraction headache, is a combination of three different headaches: muscular, vascular and neurogenic headaches. This band-like headache may be accompanied by pressure in the shoulders, neck, head, temples and forehead.
Tension headache related discomfort increases with the progress in day, but it rarely affects daily activity. Tension headache is more common in women than men.
A number of factors triggers tension headache, such as psychological, sleep deficiency, tension in the pericranial and cervical muscles and excessive use of over-the-counter (OTC) analgesics.
If the patients’ CD4 count exceeds 100 and the patient complaints about a headache, the headache may be a sinus headache, tension headache or migraine. The CD4 count refers to the amount of T-helper lymphocytes in each cubic millimeter blood. The count assesses the level of immunity.
The cause of sinus headache is different than that of a tension headache. Tension headache is a primary headache. The primary headache means a headache that is not due to an organic disorder.
Sinus headache is a secondary headache. The secondary headache occurs because of a well-defined disorder. For instance, a sinus infection is a major cause of sinus headache. Another cause of sinus headache is sinus inflammation.
Tension headache is dull. The associated pain is bilateral spreading between the occiput and forehead and forms a band. The pain intensity varies from mild to moderate. The pain lasts half-an-hour to many days if the headache is severe. Tension headache is common.
The pain in sinus headache is persistent and dull, whereas it resembles tightness in tension headache.
Tension headache is confused with sinus headache because the pain in both headaches can be located in the forehead. Especially, frontal sinus headache will involve the forehead.
Sinus congestion and pressure in the forehead and eyes accompanies sinus headache.
In children, sinus headaches generally experienced at a fix time in the day. Tension headaches are continuous. They may sometimes come and go, but they generally never vanish. Analgesics are administered to treat tension headache. However, analgesics may reduce the sinus headache, but complete treatment of the underlying disorder can only ensure full relief.
Neither sinus nor tension headache induces nausea and sensitivity to light, the two important symptoms of migraine headache.
The patients having either sinus or tension headache can generally continue their daily social and work activities without problem.