céphalée de tension_mécanisme

The causes and mechanisms of tension headache

Aug 17, 2021

Tension headache caused by stress?

The exact mechanism of tension headache is still very little known. For a very long time, tension headaches were attributed to a psychogenic effect , that is to say purely mental and emotional . Today, scientific research has shown that there is an impairment in the pain control pathways . As in migraine, in the chronic forms of tension headache there is a more profound attack on the level of the central nervous system .

Increased pericranial sensitivity is the most observed symptom in patients. The pain can be localized to the right to the left or to the whole of the head. It is generally described as a feeling of pressure from the front to the back of the skull. There is also hypersensitivity in the facial muscles, the forehead muscles, the temporals, the masseters, etc. The neck muscles as well as the trapezius muscles are also found to be painful. The analysis of the pain caused by pressing on some of these muscles makes it possible to determine a score and thus to evaluate the intensity of the tension headache .

The difficulty in diagnosis often lies in differentiating between tension headache and mild forms of migraine without aura . This is all the more true since patients with frequent headaches often suffer from both pathologies at the same time . Today, experts are still working to establish new criteria for tension headache in order to be able to distinguish it more easily from migraine. Today, disorders of the periocranial sensitivity are the key elements in the diagnosis of tension headache. However, migraine presents with nausea and vomiting that is not found in tension headache. These elements already make it possible to orient the diagnosis and the treatments.

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