This month in Scientific American™ Neurology:

  • Epidemiology, Diagnosis, and Pathophysiology
  • Acute and Preventive Therapies


Lateral and medial pterygoid muscles.

Tension-Type Headaches

Epidemiology, Diagnosis, and Pathophysiology

Paul Rizzoli, MD, FAAN, FAHS, Assistant Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Clinical and Fellowship Director John R. Graham Headache Center, Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital, Boston, MA

The societal and disability impacts of tension-type headaches relate more to the frequency than the severity of the headache events. Evidence for separating tension-type headache and migraine into two distinct pathophysiologic entities is presented along with the advances in understanding pathophysiology of tension-type headaches.



Summary of treatment options.

Tension-Type Headaches

Acute and Preventive Therapies

Melissa Rayhill, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Neurology, University at Buffalo School of Medicine, the State University of New York at Buffalo

Despite the prevalence of tension-type headache, there is no FDA-approved treatment for either episodic or chronic tension-type headaches. Recent meta-analyses of randomized trials of NSAIDS for the abortive treatment of tension-type headaches support the notion that no one NSAID is superior to another. The use of complementary and procedural therapies as treatments are evaluated, and lifestyle considerations are also discussed.


As seen in Scientific AmericanTM Neurology, teaching principles and practice

Written By


The Decker Team