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Tension Headache or something else?
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Tension Headache or something else?

Hi, I'm a 24 y/o female from NYC. Since monday I've had a stiff neck and headaches with a lot of pressure around my head. Im also having pain down my back a little (esp lowerback) and get very tired walking, up stairs, etc. I have no fever or anything, actually my temp is a just a little lower than normal.

I'm a little concerned because I don't know what might be causing this, it's very uncomfortable. The stiffness isn't as strong in the morning after I wake up, but it seems to fluctuate and get worse near the end of the day, it's always there though.

I was recently (7/19) prescribed 25mg of Atenolol daily for my skipped heart beats (MVP), could this cause pre headaches?

I feel a little silly writing this, but I did refill my water bottle at a public fountain on friday, so I'm a bit worried if I may have caught something...but then again I don't seem to have a fever.

I guess my main question is, is a stiff neck a common symptom of your garden variety tension headache (I've never had one before now)?...or could this be something more serious like meningitis, even without a fever?  I will probably see my doc anyway, but I guess I just want a bit of reassurance. Thanks...
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I am not aware of atenolol leading to headaches.  Interestingly, they are typically prescribed to prevent migraine headaches.

Whenever I hear stiff neck and headache, meningitis should be considered.  Even without a fever, there is a possibility that a viral form (aseptic) is present.  

If meningitis has been evaluated for - then yes, a tension headache can cause the symptoms.  It is certainly possible for a tension headache to present with some neck stiffness.

Followup with your personal physician is essential.

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice - the information presented is for patient education only. Please see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.

Kevin, M.D.
I have long suffered from migraines and tension headaches as well as rebound headaches (from an addiction to Advil).  I rarely take any advil or stronger medication.  If I have a bad headache I try to rest (I am a stay at home mom of a 4 and 3 year old), a warm cloth on my eyes and when my huspand hets home I take to tylenol PM's and go to bed.  9 times out of 10 that takes care of it.  After stopping all pain medication I do have fewer headaches.  Also noticing the culprits:  smoke, bleach, onions, aged cheese, any wine or alcohol, purfume, ammonia, candlelight, strobe lights to name a few.  Blue cheese and Chicken Marsala are the WORSE!  Good luck.
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