Headache, Chronic Daily

Chronic daily headache refers to a group of headache disorders that occur at least 15 days a month during a 3-month period.

Individuals feel constant, mostly moderate pain throughout the day on the sides or top of the head. They may also experience other types of headache. Adolescents and adults may experience chronic daily headaches. In children, stress from school and family activities may contribute to these headaches.

In addition to chronic tension-type headache, chronic migraine headache, and medication overuse headache (rebound headache), chronic headaches include hemicrania continua and new daily persistent headache.

Hemicrania continua

Hemicrania continua is marked by continuous, fluctuating pain that always occurs on the same side of the face and head.

The headache may last from minutes to days and is associated with symptoms including tearing, red and irritated eyes, sweating, stuffy or runny nose, and swollen and drooping eyelids. The pain may get worse as the headache progresses. Migraine-like symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. Physical exertion and alcohol use may increase headache severity.

The disorder is more common in women than in men and its cause is unknown.

Hemicrania continua has two forms: chronic, with daily headaches, and remitting or episodic, in which headaches may occur over a period of 6 months and are followed by a pain-free period of weeks to months before recurring. Most individuals have attacks of increased pain three to five times per 24-hour cycle.

Indomethacin usually provides rapid relief from symptoms. Corticosteroids may also provide temporary relief from some symptoms.?

New Daily Persistent Headache (NDPH)

New Daily Persistent Headache, previously called "chronic benign daily headache", is known for its constant daily pain that ranges from mild to severe. Individuals can often recount the exact date and time that the headache began.

Daily headaches can occur for more than 3 months (and sometimes years) without lessening or ending. Symptoms include an abnormal sensitivity to light or sound, nausea, lightheadedness, and a pressing, throbbing, or tightening pain felt on both sides of the head. NDPH occurs more often in women than in men. Most sufferers do not have a prior history of headache.

NDPH may occur spontaneously or following infection, medication use, trauma, high spinal fluid pressure, or other condition.

The disorder has two forms: one that usually ends on its own within several months and does not require treatment, and a longer-lasting form that is difficult to treat. Muscle relaxants, antidepressants, and anticonvulsants may provide some relief.


Reference: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

This information is for general educational uses only. It may not apply to you and your personal medical needs. This information should not be used in place of a visit, call, consultation with or the advice of your physician or health care professional.

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