What type of headache is noticeable?
Most people have headaches from time to time. But if you have a headache more days than not, you might have chronic daily headaches.
Aggressive initial treatment and steady, long-term management might reduce pain and lead to fewer headaches.
By definition, chronic daily headaches occur 15 days or more a month, for longer than three months. True (primary) chronic daily headaches aren't caused by another condition.
There are short-lasting and long-lasting chronic daily headaches.
Long-lasting headaches last more than four hours. They include:
- Chronic migraine
- Chronic tension-type headache
- New daily persistent headache
- Hemicrania continua
When to see a doctor
Occasional headaches are common, and usually require no medical attention.
However, consult your doctor if:
- You usually have two or more headaches a week
- You take a pain reliever for your headaches most days
- You need more than the recommended dose of over-the-counter pain remedies to relieve your headaches
- Your headache pattern changes or your headaches worsen
- Your headaches are disabling
Seek prompt medical care if your headache:
- Is sudden and severe
- Accompanies a fever, stiff neck, confusion, seizure, double vision, weakness, numbness or difficulty speaking
- Follows a head injury
- Gets worse despite rest and pain medication
The causes of many chronic daily headaches aren't well-understood. True (primary) chronic daily headaches don't have an identifiable underlying cause.
Conditions that might cause nonprimary chronic daily headaches include:
- Inflammation or other problems with the blood vessels in and around the brain, including stroke
- Infections, such as meningitis
- Intracranial pressure that's either too high or too low
- Brain tumor
- Traumatic brain injury