Do you suffer from headaches everyday or do you know someone who does and want to help them? Do you seek a better understanding of the types, causes, symptoms, and treatments related to chronic headaches? If so, please read on to discover the primary current findings that medical education and research have uncovered about chronic daily headaches.
Most people call a headache a headache, but your doctor may refer to it as either cephalalgia, cephalgia, or cephalodynia, especially if she or he is communicating with other medical professionals. Whatever one chooses to call it, it’s basically a pain in the head or neck.
This pain does not come from the brain, but rather from an aggravation of pain-sensitive structures very near the brain. Your brain tissue lacks pain receptors; therefore, it’s not sensitive to pain. The areas of the neck and head with pain-sensitive structures are such things as veins and arteries, nerves, muscles, the cranium, subcutaneous tissues, sinuses, ears, eyes, and mucous membranes.
Types of Headaches
Knowledge is power, as they say, and for people who suffer from headaches everyday, an understanding of the different types of headaches is the first step toward finding relief.
For the greatest understanding, we should approach headache types from two perspectives: via medical terminology and via layman’s terms. Don’t worry, you can skip the medical terminology section and focus on the layman’s terms section without missing much.
Medical Terminology Approach
Scientists love to classify whatever they study, and the medical profession is no exception. In that regard, the International Headache Society has compiled the International Classification of Headache Disorders, a collection of scholarly articles known as the ICHD-II.
If you are a medical professional or otherwise enjoy scientific/medical jargon, by all means check it out. At the risk of over-simplifying, I will briefly discuss the Society’s classification of types of headaches.
Basically, the IHS classifies headaches into four general categories, only two of which I will touch upon here. They are: (1) primary headaches, (2) secondary headaches, (3) cranial neuralgia, and (4) central and primary facial pain and other headaches. I will mention the primary and secondary categories and leave the other two for those so inclined to research them.
According to the ICHD-II, these type of headaches fall under the Primary group:
- other trigeminal autonomic cephalalgias
Under the Secondary group who have headaches everyday based on their causes, we have:
- head or neck trauma (e.g. whiplash)
- intracranial hematoma
- related to cranial or cervical vascular disorders
- cerebral venous thrombosis
- drug ingestion related
- psychiatric disorder related
The point here is not to belabor you with medical jargon about headaches everyday, but rather to illustrate the actual wide ranging list of different types of head pain. Let’s move on the layman’s terms perspective for those who have headaches everyday as well as those who don’t.
Layman’s Terms Approach
OK, let’s talk turkey. Here’s a list of the basic types of headaches known to mankind:
- chronic daily
- rebound (medication overuse)
- uncommon or other
Tension headaches, sometimes referred to as muscle contraction headaches, are the most common, accounting for about 75% of all headaches. Imagine a tight band around your head; that’s what they feel like, dull and achy. More women than men are likely to have this type of headache, and they can last from 30 minutes to several days.
Migraine headaches, too, are more prevalent in women than men by a margin of three to one. They are vascular in nature and cause severe, throbbing pain.
Cluster headaches are also classified as vascular types, and can occur on and off for several weeks at a time, lasting from 15 minutes to three hours. They are not quite as common as tension and migraine headaches.
Chronic daily headaches everyday, by definition, occur in excess of 15 days per month. This type of headache is sort of a catch-all for a variety of headaches that are characterized by their frequent occurrence. (See Symptoms section for more detailed information.)
Rebound headaches, also known as medication overuse headaches, is a general type that reaches across the tension, migraine, cluster, and chronic daily types of headaches. It usually occurs in people who take pain medication more than two or three days per week.
Uncommon types of headaches everyday can occur for a variety of reasons, such as bouts of coughing, exercise, or sex. Each sub-type has its own set of characteristics, which will be discussed later in this articles.
Causes and Symptoms of Headaches Everyday
In this section I will continue with the layman’s terms approach and combine the causes and symptoms of head pains as they relate to people who have headaches everyday. I have already touched on some causes and symptoms, but here I will elaborate even further.
Tension headaches can be caused by lack of sleep, stress, missed meals, and neck strain, among other things. Stress, of course, covers a whole lot of ground and most certainly will tighten the scalp muscle and bring on pain.
Loud noises, bright lights, and cigarette smoke are environmental factors that often trigger tension headaches everyday. As mentioned previously, tension headaches can make you feel like there is a tight band around your head. If you have headaches everyday that are dull and achy in nature, a tension headache is probably what you have.
Migraine headaches, like tension headaches, can be caused by stress, but they can also be caused by certain foods, sensory stimuli like bright lights and the smell of paint thinner, changes in sleeping patterns, certain medications, and (in women) hormonal changes. These types of headaches are throbbing and severe, and they are often accompanied by vomiting and nausea. If left untreated, they can last from four to 72 hours.
Cluster headaches, estimated to affect less than 0.5% of the population, are more prevalent in men and often mistaken for a problem with the sinus. Their causes are not well known, but when they do start, they start quickly and without warning, usually reaching maximum intensity within minutes.
Usually affecting just one side of the head, they can be accompanied by redness of the eye or a droopy eyelid as well as a stuffy nose. They can last from 15 minutes to three hours.
Chronic Daily Headaches
If your head pains occur more than 15 days per month, you are considered to have chronic daily headaches, which encompass a variety of types of headaches based on their frequency.
So, really, chronic daily headaches can be any of the other headache types that exist (and there are many more if you consult the ICHD-II mentioned above). The causes and symptoms of chronic daily headaches everyday are as varied as the different types of headaches that exist.
As with chronic daily headaches, rebound (or medication overuse) headaches cover a wide swath of ground, so to speak. The cause of this type of headache is the frequent use of pain relievers, and some of the symptoms consist of throbbing, pounding, dull, and/or achy pain that may awaken you in the morning and be with you through the day. Often these headaches involve nausea and irritability.
Uncommon (Other) Headaches Everyday
These types of headaches, which are unusual in occurrence, can be caused by a variety of factors, including coughing fits, sex, exercise, and other activities. Each instance has its own particular set of corresponding attributes. Symptoms vary as well, and if one cannot pinpoint by now what type of head pain she may have, it’s best to consult a doctor for a proper diagnosis.
You can treat most headaches in a straightforward manner.
Tension headaches are easily treated with over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen, aspirin, motrin, and other, similar medications.
Migraine headaches, on the other hand, often involve prescription medications along with rest in a darkened, quiet room, cold or hot compresses to the neck or head, and sometimes small amounts of caffeine. Cluster headache treatment can consist of prescription injectable medications for quick relief, prescription nasal sprays, and oxygen therapy.
Chronic daily headaches, or headaches everyday, depend on an accurate description of your symptoms that enable your doctor to diagnose your condition and decide upon the best course of treatment, which will vary.
Rebound headaches are best treated by the stopping or lessening of taking the medication(s) that are adding to these headaches. And the unusual uncommon type of headache is treated according to its cause. Because the cause varies, the treatment will vary as well.
Emergency Symptoms Awareness – Headaches Everyday
It is important to recognize emergency headache symptoms and take the proper actions. These signs suggest a more serious underlying issue, so it’s a priority to get prompt evaluation and treatment. Some of these symptoms include:
- headache onset after a fall or other head injury
- fever, confusion, weakness or difficulty speaking
- seizure, double vision or numbness
- pain worsens after OTC medication and rest
- a sudden, painful headache for seemingly no reason
Summary of Headaches Everyday
There are over 200 types of headaches, but the most common is a tension headache. This type is most easily treated with over-the-counter (OTC) medications.
If you have headaches everyday or almost everyday, you may have a chronic daily tension headache, a combination of two types of known headaches. If they persist or get worse, it’s important to get properly diagnosed and treated.