oa South African Family Practice - Tension type headaches : a review : review

Volume 57, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 2078-6190
  • E-ISSN: 2078-6204



Headache disorders are a common condition affecting present-day societies worldwide. Headaches are classified by the International Headache Society as being either primary or secondary. Primary headaches are those without an underlying, physical cause, e.g. migraine, cluster and other benign-type headaches. Secondary headaches, as the term suggests, are as a result of an underlying cause, e.g. a tumour, meningitis and a haemorrhage. Tension-type headaches, together with migraines, are the most common primary headaches, affecting 80% of the general population. Various terms has been used to describe tension-type headaches, but these have since been discarded, e.g. "tension headache", owing to ambiguity as to whether or not the cause of the tension was psychological or muscular. Other terms no longer in use include "psychogenic headaches" and "stress headaches".

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