Most of us have headaches from time to time. Some suffer from headaches more often than others and are experiencing a headache everyday. Those who suffer from chronic headaches (basically headaches everyday), including tension and migraines, can experience disabling pain that prevents them from making it through a day at work or attending their child’s soccer game.
According to the National Library of Medicine, a headache is “pain or discomfort in the head, scalp or neck.” For some, the pain is more severe than with others and in most cases, headaches will cease when there is a lifestyle change to help improve the person’s overall health.
There are many reasons why some suffer from chronic headaches while others do not. Let’s take a closer look at what causes headaches everyday:
According to the Mayo Clinic, by definition bad headaches everyday must occur for 15 days or more a month for three consecutive months in order to be classified as chronic. Plus, to be considered chronic, these headaches must not be the result of any other medical condition.
According to the American Headache Society, other symptoms of chronic daily headaches may include dizziness, sleep disturbance, pain elsewhere in the body, difficulty concentrating, decreased mood, increased anxiety and fatigue.
Dealing with headaches everyday
If you are getting headaches everyday you know the pain many others who experience chronic headaches. There are ways to help you get through your pain and help reduce the chances of suffering from a headache. The Mayo Clinic suggests that with an aggressive treatment plan and long-term management, you might be able to reduce the pain and experience fewer chronic daily headaches.
There are four different classifications of chronic daily headaches. Each one is classified based on how long they last. The classifications of the most common suffered constant headaches everyday include:
- Chronic migraine
- Chronic tension headache
- New daily persistent headache
- Hemicrania continua
In order for your headache to be considered a migraine you must have at least two of the following symptoms:
- Pain on only one side of the head
- Feeling of a throbbing or pulsating sensation
- Moderate to severe pain
- Pain is aggravated by physical activity
The pain must cause at least one of the following:
- Nausea, vomiting or both
- Sensitivity to light and sound
Chronic tension headaches
Suffering from tension headaches everyday may be a chronic condition if you experience two of the following characteristics:
- Pain on both sides of the head
- Mild to moderate pain levels
- Pain causes a pressure or tightening feeling (not a pulsating one)
- Headache is not aggravated by routine physical activity
With chronic tension headaches you may also experience mild sensitivity to light and/or sound and rarely may experience a little bit of nausea.
New daily persistent headaches
New daily persistent headaches have the same characteristics and symptoms as chronic tension headaches do. However, with these headaches, they become more constant within a few days from when you experience your first headache.
Hemicrania continua headaches generally cause pain to only one side of the head. This headache does not shift sides. Other symptoms associated with this type of chronic headache include:
- No pain-free periods during a daily and continual time frame
- Moderate continual pain with spikes of severe pain
- This headache does respond to the prescription pain reliever indomethacin
- Can develop severe migraine-like symptoms
Plus, hemicranias continua headaches also have at least one of the following symptoms:
- Tearing and redness of the eye on the affected side of the head
- Nasal congestion and runny nose
- Drooping eyelid
- Constriction of the pupil
When to seek medical help
If you find yourself saying “ Why do I have a headache everyday ?” it might be time to go see your physician for medical assistance. Even though you do not want to run to your doctor when you are suffering from a single headache or two, it is still important to take continual headaches seriously.
The Mayo Clinic suggests you seek medical assistance with your chronic headaches when:
- You suffer from two or more headaches in a single week
- You are taking over the counter pain medications every day (or almost every day) for your headaches
- Headache patterns change
- Over the counter medications are not strong enough to relieve the pain
- Headaches get worse
Immediate medical attention is necessary if:
- You experience sudden and severe pain
- You also have a fever, stiff neck, experiencing seizures, have double vision, are weak, have feeling of numbness, are confused or having trouble speaking
- Also suffered a head injury
- Headache pain worsens despite pain medications and amount of rest
The underlying causes of headaches is still not fully understood and chronic daily headaches really do not have any underlying cause that is easily identifiable. According to the Mayo Clinic, here are some of the most common factors, underlying diseases and conditions which may be the cause of chronic headaches:
- Having a heightened response to pain signals
- The part of the brain that suppresses pain is not working properly
- Inflammation of the blood vessels in the brain
- Other problems with the blood vessels in and around the brain (including stroke)
- Infections (including meningitis)
- Intracranial pressure that is too high or too low
- Brain tumor
- Traumatic brain injury
Now keep in mind that if you are experiencing chronic headaches, it does not automatically mean you have one of the above listed conditions. That is why it is important to bring your symptoms and pain levels to your physician so he or she can properly diagnose your condition.
First and foremost, if there is an underlying disease that has been determined to be the cause of your chronic headaches, chances are treating this condition will often help stop the frequent headaches. However, if there is no underlying disease or condition, it is time to focus on pain management and find a way to reduce and/or prevent the continuation of the headaches.
When you find yourself taking pain relievers three times a week or more for your headaches, it might be time to stop and speak to your physician to find alternative treatments. Here are some treatments suggested by the Mayo Clinic:
- Take antidepressants
- Use beta blockers
- Take anti-seizure medications
- Take prescription NSAIDs
- Have botulinum toxin (Botox) injections
Alternative options for treating headaches include:
- Seeing an acupuncturist
- Using biofeedback
- Practice meditation
- Get a massage
- Look into herbal remedies
- Take the proper amount of vitamins and minerals
- Have electrical stimulation of the occipital nerve
Coping with chronic daily headaches
It is important to understand how to cope and deal with chronic daily headaches. Why? Because these types of headaches can interfere with your job, relationships, family life, extracurricular activities and your overall quality of life. With the right support and treatments in place, coping with the chronic pain is possible.
Here are some more tips from the Mayo Clinic to help those suffering from chronic daily headaches:
- Take control of your life
- Keep yourself in good spirits
- Take care of your body
- Set aside time for yourself
- Set aside time for your loved ones
- Seek understanding and support from friends and family
- Seek help from local support groups
- Consider counseling
There are many different things that can trigger a headache. Just like there are many things you can do to prevent the pain from starting. Here are some tips to help prevent headaches from causing you pain:
- Avoid triggers: Monitor what causes your headaches and remember to avoid those triggers in the future
- Avoid overusing medications: taking over the counter medications more than twice a week could increase the severity and frequency of your headaches
- Get sleep: Ensure you are getting seven to eight hours of sleep per night
- Do not skip meals: Make sure to avoid food or drinks with high amounts of caffeine
- Exercise regularly: make sure to get in aerobic exercise, which can help improve both your mental and physical well-being
- Reduce your stress levels: Avoid anything which may increase your level of stress by simplifying your daily schedule
- Relax: Start practicing yoga, meditation and relaxation exercises daily
If you find yourself asking “Why do I get headaches everyday?” you might be suffering from a chronic headache condition. These headaches can be a burden on your day-to-day life, but with the proper medical attention, medications and treatments, you may find yourself free of your headache pain.