Tension Headache

Comprehensive Headache Center & Multiple Sclerosis Specialists located in Spokane Valley, WA

Man with headache

Tension Headache services offered in Spokane Valley, WA

Most people experience mild to moderate headache pain now and again due to stress, and this can lead to a type of head pain known as a tension headache. Though not always a serious health concern, chronic tension headaches affect one’s quality of life. Wade Steeves, MD, at Valley Neurology in Spokane, Washington, specializes in treating tension headaches. For expert headache care, call the office or request an appointment online today.

Tension Headache Q&A

What is a tension headache?

A tension headache causes mild to moderate achy head pain that affects both sides of the head. It is often described as a band-like, or vise-like pain. It is the most common headache type. Stress and tension are common triggers of these types of headaches. 


In most cases, tension headaches resolve on their own with at-home care and aren’t a serious health concern.

What are the types of tension headaches?

There are two main types of tension headaches: episodic and chronic. 

Episodic tension-type headache

If you have fewer than 15 episodes of tension-type head pain a month, you have episodic tension-type headaches.

Chronic tension-type headache

When you have more headache days than non-headache days, you have chronic tension-type headaches. In general, you have a chronic headache condition if you have 15 or more tension headaches a month.


The neurologists at Valley Neurology classify your headache based on the frequency of the attacks.

When should I seek help for a tension headache?

You should seek help for a tension headache at Valley Neurology if you have frequent head pain days or at-home care fails to relieve your symptoms. 


The highly skilled physicians at Valley Neurology conduct comprehensive evaluations when you come in for a tension headache consultation so they can determine the best course of treatment.


They will review your symptoms, headache frequency, and triggers (if known). They may request you keep a headache diary to track your head pain episodes and identify possible triggers.


The neurologists perform a physical and neurological exam and may run imaging tests such as an MRI to rule out other conditions that might explain your head pain.

What are the treatments for a tension headache?

Your provider at Valley Neurology customizes your tension headache treatment plan based on the findings from your evaluation. Treatments for a tension headache may include:


  • Stress management
  • Hot or cold compress
  • Relaxation training
  • Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers
  • Sleep hygiene
  • Massage therapy
  • Daily exercise


Though OTC medications relieve a tension headache, overuse of medication may worsen your condition. Valley Neurology works one-on-one with you to develop a well-rounded approach to managing your head pain without making it worse.


For relief from your tension headache, call Valley Neurology or request an appointment online today.