Chronic Tension Headaches. Help!!: I have been... - Pain Concern

Pain Concern
28,033 members9,556 posts

Chronic Tension Headaches. Help!!


I have been suffering for nearly 90 days now with pains in and around my head and upper neck. MRI Scans and CT Scans are clear. Neurology has put it down to Chronic Tension Headaches. I have done everything humanly possible to get rid of this pain. There is no way this is tension headaches. i've had it for 90 days, every minute i'm awake. Help

20 Replies

Oh yes it can be a tension headache I've too been having them every stinking day, I think mine is tied to allergies.

Thank you. They are a nightmare. I dont have allergies so back to the drawing board for me

Since your MRI and CAT scans are clear:

Anything that could have triggered the pain?

Have you any history or injuries/accidents? whiplash, falls, strains etc.

Even years back, or the slightest of things before the pain started that seemed unimportant at the time.

What is your range of movement like? Research the trapezius muscles, the superficial muscle layer of the back - from mid-back to the back of the head, extending out to each shoulder. If the trapezius muscles are balanced and unrestricted as you move your head and arms then your range of movement is good. If you feel tensions and twists then you have tension in your upper body.

Have a look at this site about trigger points and referred pain areas:

If you click on the areas affected you'll get more details. Does any of it match up with your symptoms?

Thank you for your reply. I had a Brain Tumor 25 years ago but doctors are saying everything is great from the MRI Scans. My movement has always been good and i am active.

Hi ChristopherRea,

Sorry to hear about the chronic neck- and headache you've been experiencing. While it's reassuring that your tests have been clear, it must still be very frustrating to not have found relief from your pain.

You mentioned that you've tried everything - may I ask what this entails? The NHS site for Chronic Tension Headaches ( suggests that this condition can be linked to lifestyle and stress specifically.

I understand you are probably worried about why nothing seems to give you relief - but unfortunately this kind of stress can make your pain worse.

On the other hand, there is evidence out there that finding something that relaxes you can in turn alleviate your pain. If you are interested in reading about this, I recommend our leaflet on Stress, Pain and Relaxation (

I hope you find something that works!

Moderator3 on behalf of Pain Concern

Thank you for your reply. I have tried all pain relief tablets. My neurologist has actually said that to come off them all as they aren't working. I have changed my diet, drank more water each day, do yoga and stretches every day, i have changed my posture by buying a neck hammock, do posture stretches and wear a posture strap when walking. I have tried using a Tens Machine, less screen time and less time looking at my phone. I was at university doing a teaching degree which was stressfull, but due to Covid19, i am not there so no more stress. If i am stressed, its because i don't know when or if this will ever end. I will look over everything you said. Thanks

Have you ever tried a Chiropractor who uses the activation method? I used to go to one and it worked wonders for me. She didn't manipulate me at all but used almost like a little ball bearing gun on my trigger points. Just a thought

Thank You Molly. Due to this Covid19, i cant get to see a chiropractor yet but it is definitely on my list

I have found standing in the shower with the hot water directed on my neck gives some relief. Take your time and enjoy the feeling of warmth in the muscles. Also wash your hair, massaging the shampoo into your scalp thoroughly for a good few minutes before rinsing with the hot water.

It does ease the muscles in your neck which tense up with stress. Also drop your shoulders and use a heat pad or covered water bottle to relax around your neck at the sides as well as the back.

Taking pain medication especially opiate based every day can cause a "rebound" headache in itself.

Headaches are nasty, I hope these simple tips help.

Thank you. I will certainly do this more often

Check your CO2 detector in your house to ensure it works properly. Also , for me, between stress, Covid, kids And Minimal support, headaches are a regular thing lately. Work on the stresses and tension in your neck and shoulders as well. You’ll be surprised how many headaches are caused from tight muscles.

Thank you

You’re welcome. I fixed my comment. Think I fell back asleep when I was typing it!

Hi Christopher. Sorry to hear about what you're going through right now. You're saying that you're studying for a teaching degree and you feel stressed about it. Are you going back when the confinement is finished or are you done with it?

I hope you won't mind if I tell you about my own story on this. If I'm asking this, this is because many years ago, I've done a teaching degree as a 'mature student' and it was probably the worst decision of my life. The stress involved with the studies and then the job was unbearable. I managed to soldier on in the job (many jobs actually, always as 'supply' teacher) for 4 years (believe it or not) and decided to quit for my own sanity. Unfortunately, it was after quitting that I realised all the damages it had done, or at least amplified by many folds to my health. Chronic headaches, tension in the shoulders and I am not mentioning the psychological scars, or the tinnitus. I still dearly regret that it has turned up that way and I know that many people thrive in this job and I do envy them but if you don't think it is for you, think twice about doing it.

I'm lucky enough to be able to see a chiropractor at the moment. He did recommend, like many, to take Magnesium, as it relaxes the muscle. I use a Magnesium oil spray. Still waiting to see if it works. He recommends deep breathing as well (with your tummy). Have a read as well on the internet about the Vagus nerve and stress, quite interesting really.

All the best! :)

Thank you for this. I enjoy teaching but i will certainly look at magnesium oils. Thank you


For what it is worth have you tried an infrared heat lamp, I have a full size medical one I had it for years, I call it my best friend as somebody who has suffer serious back pain for well over fifty years, you can purchase a small unit online, it is good for relieving the tension in the neck and shoulder mussels, but at first do not stay in front or under. ten to fifteen minuets max you will soon get use to it and be able to adjust accordingly. Best of luck Hermes

Thank you. it is something i will consider

Thank you. This is something i will consider

Hi Christopher, sorry to hear about your head and neck problems. You say it's when you're awake but you didn't say it keeps you awake. Pain medications can make headaches worse. I had similar symptoms to you 20+ years ago with other symptoms. My scan showed hydromyelia cervical 1-thoracic 1 which is widening of spinal cord but it's quite rare. You don't say which medications you've been taking.

Hi Christopher, I'm from a family that has migraines, allergies etc. which is through the genes. We all suffer with both! I've also had epilepsy for 46 years now. I wake up with a headache and go to bed with a headache which is always on the left temporal lobe. I had brain aneurysm surgery last year and the headaches still persist. I also have neck pain where the carotid arteries lead up to the brain. I have had Angiograms and MRI's done as well as Dexa Scans. I was diagnosed with Osteoporosis/Osteopenia in November 2018. I saw my Neuro-Radiologist after my operation in August, 2019, and he is still aware of the headaches. The brain aneurysm was at the bottom of the skull where the carotid arteries meet. Blood thinning treatment is working so far, but the headaches and neck pain still persist. I have had many falls due to my seizures, but also hit a diving board at the age of 14 which caused injury to the head. Besides this I was jumping one day on a trampoline in my younger years and thought I would do a 'tummy jump'... The neck pain I am convinced is all related to seizures, trampolines, diving boards, brain aneurysm and of course osteoporosis.

The only relief I seem to get is Panadol dissolvable tablets; Paracetamol is not long enough.

I practically have to take one daily. I'm also on a change over plan of epilepsy medication and these all have side effects, one of which is headaches.

I get another MRI done in September, 2020, and will definitely be speaking to the Neuro-Radiologist to find out the cause.

You may also like...