Chronic headache – Symptoms, causes, risk factors & complications

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Chronic headache

There are many people who have headaches from time to time. But if you have noticed that you have a headache more days than normal, then you might have chronic daily headaches. The chronic headache is a specific headache type and it includes many different headache subtypes. Chronic means how often headaches happen and how long this condition last. It is known that the constant nature of the chronic headache is making them one of the most disabling headache conditions. Usually, the aggressive initial treatment and the steady and long – term management can reduce the pain and this can lead to a fewer headaches.

Chronic headache symptoms

Chronic headache - Symptoms, causes, risk factors & complications

The chronic daily headache is happening fifteen days or more in a period of one month and it lasts longer than 3 months. The primary chronic daily headache is not caused by another condition. You should know that there are short – lasting and long – lasting daily headaches. The long – lasting chronic headaches are happening for more than 4 hours. This type of chronic daily headache is including symptoms, like

  • Hemicrania continua
  • New daily persistent headache
  • Chronic tension – type headache
  • Chronic migraine
  1. Hemicrania continua: This type of headache:
  • It can become severe with the development of migraine – like symptoms
  • Responds to the prescription pain reliever indomethacin (called Indocin)
  • It causes moderate pain with spikes of severe pain
  • It is daily and continuous with no pain – free periods
  • It affects only one side of your head

Also, the hemicrania continua headache is associated with at least one of the following:

  • You can have a sensation of restlessness
  • You can have drooping eyelid or pupil narrowing
  • You can have runny nose or nasal congestion
  • You can feel tearing or redness of the eye on the affected side
  1. New daily persistent headache: This type of headache comes on suddenly and usually it is happening in people who do not have a headache history. This type of headache can become constant in a period of 3 days of your first headache. There can be symptoms like:
  • You might have features of chronic migraine or a chronic tension – type headache
  • It can cause mild to moderate pain
  • It can cause pain which feels like pressing or tightening but not pulsating
  • It often affects both sides of your head
  1. Chronic tension – type headache: This type of headache tends to:
  • Cause pain which feels pressing or tightening but not pulsating
  • It can cause mild to moderate pain
  • It affects both sides of your head
  1. Chronic migraine: This type of chronic daily headache usually happens in people who have a history of episodic migraines. This type of chronic daily headache tends to:
  • Cause moderate to severe pain
  • Have a pulsating and throbbing sensation
  • This type of headache affects one side or both sides of your head

Also, the migraine can cause at least one of the following:

  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • Nausea, vomiting or both

Causes

The causes for the chronic daily headache are not well understood. The primary (true) chronic daily headache does not have an identifiable underlying cause. There are some conditions which may cause nonprimary chronic daily headache, such as

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Brain tumor
  • There can be intracranial pressure which is either too high or too low
  • Infections, such as meningitis
  • Inflammation or other problems with blood vessels in and around the brain, including stroke

Medication overuse headache is happening in people who have an episodic headache disorder, usually migraine or tension type and people who take too much pain medication for this condition. If you are taking pain medications for more than two days a week, then you have risk of developing rebound headaches.

Risk factors

There are some factors which are associated with developing frequent headaches, such as

  • Overuse of headache medication
  • Overuse of caffeine
  • Snoring
  • Obesity
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Female sex
  • Other chronic pain conditions

Complications

If you have chronic daily headache, then you have more chances of developing sleep disturbances, anxiety, depression and other physical and psychological problems.

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