Health & Diet

Everything You Should Know About Chronic Headaches

301/366: HeadachePhoto by GonzaloMMD

Many people have frequent headaches from time to time. If you have headache more than 4 day a week, you may be experiencing chronic daily headaches. A key step to getting the right treatment is to find the right diagnosis.

Headaches which occur more than 15 days a month, or even more, for a least three months are defines as CDH (Chronic daily headaches). The continuous nature of CDH makes them among the most disabling headaches.

It has been estimated that 4 to 5 percent of worldwide population suffer from chronic daily headaches. Slow, long-term management and aggressive initial treatment may reduce pain and lead to less frequent headaches.

Clues and Cues

Doctors can find out what type of chronic headaches you have by looking at factors such as the type and severity of pain, sensitivity to noise and light, and history of headaches.

Chronic migraines:

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– Can be accompanied by vomiting and/or nausea
– May include sensitivity to noise and light
– Come with intense, throbbing pain
– Usually affect only one side of the head
– Often evolve from occasional migraines

Chronic tension-type headaches:

– Produce mild to moderate pain which is often described as a tightening pressure or pain
– Are usually caused by bad stress or posture, which tighten the muscles in the neck and scalp
– Often hurt on both sides of the head
– Typically evolve from occasional tension-type headaches

Hemicrania continua:

– Constant, moderate pain, with occasional severe pain
– Nasal congestion or runny nose; dropping or swollen eyelids; tearing or redness of the eye on the side of the headache
– Pain on the one side of the face

Daily, persistent headaches:

– Include sensitivity to sound and light or mild nausea
– Involve pressing, tightening pain on both sides of head
– Begin suddenly and occur on a daily basis

Causes

The causes of many CDH are still not very well-understood. True or primary CDH don’t have an identifiable underlying cause. However, the cause of non-primary chronic daily headaches may include:

– Traumatic brain injury
– Brain tumor
– Intracranial pressure which is either too low or too high
– Infections
– Inflammations or some other problems with the blood vessels in and around the brain

Medication overuse headache

People who have an episodic headache disorder, such as tension-type or migraine and take too much pain medication, usually develop this type of headache. If you’re taking pain medications more then nine day a month or two day a week, you are at risk of developing rebound headaches.

Treatment

Unlike occasional headaches, chronic daily headaches are more likely to occur with day-to-day routines. Your doctor will first look for underlying conditions, and if he or she doesn’t find any, then the doctor will move on to prevent and treat symptoms and triggers. Your doctor can recommend:

Complementary treatments: Meditation, yoga, or relaxation exercises which may help treat chronic headache symptoms.

Avoiding triggers: Such as skipping meals, not getting enough sleep, or stress.

Medications: Non-steroidal inflammatory drugs, beta blockers, and antidepressants are all options in treating chronic headaches.

Visit your doctor if you think you may have a form of chronic daily headache.

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