Tension-Type Headaches

What Causes Tension Headaches?

Tension headaches can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'worrying' to 'very serious'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

Diagnose your symptoms now!
  • check your overall health status
  • have a doctor review your case (optional)
  • identify any nutritional deficiencies

Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose tension headaches, we could:

  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "tension headaches" as a symptom.  Here are eight of many possibilities (more below):
  • Iron Deficiency Anemia
  • Multiple Chemical Sensitivity
  • Aspartame/Neotame Side-Effects
  • Magnesium Need
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Low Melatonin
  • Dehydration
  • Lupus (SLE)

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
multiple painful axillary nodes
poor cold weather tolerance
occasional mouth ulcers
swollen inguinal nodes
rapid loss of vision
multiple painful cervical nodes
moderate alcohol consumption
cigarette smoke sensitivity
major inflamed cuticles
shortness of breath when at rest
a high-stress lifestyle
recurrent bronchitis
... and more than 120 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of tension headaches:
Cause Probability Status
Aspartame/Neotame Side-Effects 95% Confirm
Magnesium Need 22% Unlikely
Dehydration 13% Unlikely
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity 3% Ruled out
Low Melatonin 1% Ruled out
Iron Deficiency Anemia 1% Ruled out
Lupus (SLE) 1% Ruled out
Sarcoidosis 0% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

If you indicate chronic headaches, The Analyst™ will ask further questions including this one:
Do you get Tension Headaches? This is the most common type of headache where a dull, steady ache usually occurs on both sides of the head.
Possible responses:
→ No / don't know
→ Probably had some/minor episode(s) now resolved
→ Major episode(s) now resolved
→ Current minor problem
→ Current major problem
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate either history of tension headaches or current tension headaches, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Aspartame/Neotame Side-Effects

Double-blind studies have demonstrated that aspartame causes headaches.  [Headache 1988:28(1) pp.10-14, Biological Psychiatry 1993:34(1) pp.13-17, Neurology 1994:44 pp.1787-93.]

Environmental Illness / MCS

Central nervous system dysfunction is common, resulting in headaches, chronic fatigue, poor short term memory, hyperactivity, and increased appetite leading to food cravings and overeating.

Estrogens Low

Women must first be exposed to elevated estrogen levels before low estrogen levels will trigger headache activity.  Constant low levels of estrogen, as in menopause, are less likely to be associated with increased headache pattern.

Liver Detoxification / Support Requirement

A 'sluggish liver' often contributes to headaches.

Low Female Testosterone Level

Migraines are more common among women who have very low testosterone levels.

Low Melatonin Level

Migraines sufferers often are found to have reduced blood levels of melatonin.

Lupus, SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus)

Vascular or migraine headaches occur in 10% of lupus patients.

Magnesium Requirement

Migraines sufferers often are found to have reduced blood levels of magnesium.

Concerned or curious about your health?  Try The Analyst™
Symptom Entry
Symptom Entry
Diagnosis
Diagnosis
Suggestions
Suggestions
LifeMeter
LifeMeter®
Full Explanations
Explanations
Optional Doctor Review
Review (optional)