Tension-type headache causes

Woman with a headache

What are they?

Tension-type headache

Tension-type headache (TTH) is a head pain that occurs in frequent or infrequent shorter episodes (episodic*) or that is regularly or constantly present (chronic).1 TTH are usually mild or moderate in intensity and may present as a “pressing” or “tightening” quality. It is usually not aggravated by physical activity.

Pathophysiology, causes and triggers of tension-type headaches

Icon for headache

Pathophysiology of tension-type headaches4

Unlike migraines, the mechanism of TTH is not clearly known. It may originate from tensed muscles especially around the neck area and can be stress-related.

  • Woman with a headache

    TTH are caused by either factors related to increased feeling of stress and/or problems with the neck muscles.

  • Man with a headache

    The triggers for TTH are similar to migraines. The main trigger is related to stress or mental tension. Other triggers associated with TTH are sleep problems, fatigue, weather changes, menstruation and the inability to relax after work.

Understanding headaches

Icon for headache

Headaches overview

Find out more about how headaches impact people’s life.


Icon of a doctor

How do they present?

Find out the signs and symptoms of tension-type headache. Learn to differentiate them and learn about “red flag” symptoms that indicate a referral to a doctor.

Signs and symptoms

Icon for triple combination analgesic for migraine treatment

What can you recommend to your patients for pain relief from their headaches?

Find out more about both non-pharmacological and pharmacological treatments for tension-type headache.


Learn more

Panadol Migraine pack shot

Panadol Extra

Is recommended for use as an analgesic in the relief of mild to moderate pain such as is associated with rheumatism (i.e. joint pain), neuralgia, musculoskeletal disorders, headache, backache and symptoms of colds, influenza, sore throat, feverishness, feverish colds, toothache and dysmenorrhoea.6

Find out more

Icon for headache

Be a pain changer

An easy to use tool for pain assessment in your patients or customers.

Get the tool now

Molecular structure of paracetamol + caffeine

Combination of paracetamol and caffeine for tension-type headache

Discover how paracetamol and caffeine work together to help treat pains like tension-type headaches.

Learn now