Chronic Daily Headache
What is Chronic Daily Headache?
According to the International Headache Society, Chronic Daily Headache affects approximately 4.1% of the population. Of all headache and migraine sufferers, this condition affects anywhere between 30-80% of the Brisbane population.
Those suffering from this condition, present with constant daily headaches, or ‘almost daily headaches’, which is considered as having symptoms at least 15 days per month. The average headache duration lasts for a minimum of 4hours per day. Symptoms can range from mild to moderate and can induce headaches similar to Tension Type Headaches or Migraines anywhere in the head, neck or face region1,2. Chronic daily headache is known to be disabling due to the persistent nature of the ongoing pain and symptoms being felt on a daily basis. Those with this condition have extreme difficulty in concentrating due to the persistent symptoms.
Types of Chronic Daily Headache
There are four common types of chronic daily headaches. These include Chronic Tension-Type Headache, New Daily Persistent Headache, Chronic Migraine and Hemicrania Continua. It is important to note that these headaches must occur for 15 days or more every month, over at least a three month period.
Chronic Tension Type Headache
Chronic tension type headache is classified as headache pain being bilaterally on both sides of the head, where pain is usually symmetrical and equal from left to right. Compared to migraines, chronic tension type headache causes mild to moderate pain, and feels more of a tightening and pressing sensation rather than a pulsating pain.
New Daily Persistent Headache
New daily persistent headache usually occur to those with no history of headaches. These headaches come on abruptly and suddenly. The pain usually becomes constant within the first three days from commencement of the first headache. Symptoms are similar to chronic daily tension headache, having pain bilaterally to both sides of the head. The quality of the pain is usually of a pressing and tightening sensation as opposed to a pulsating sensation. Pain is usually of a mild to moderate pain.
Chronic migraine usually occurs to those who suffer from a history of episodic migraines. Usually their migraines have been left untreated, or have worsened overtime and have now become chronic in nature. Pain is usually unilaterally on one side of the head, however can switch from left to right during the same attack or during different attacks. Pain is usually felt as a throbbing and pulsating sensation and is usually of a moderate to severe pain in nature.
Hemicrania continua is usually a more severe headache that typically affects one side of the head. The headache does not shift from side to side, and is usually locked on one side unilaterally. This headache is present all the time with no pain free periods. Pain is usually a moderate pain in nature, however tends to have severe spikes of pain throughout the day. People who suffer from this headache may also experience autonomic features such as a watery eye, swollen or droopy eye-lid, redness in the eye, block or runny nose. Migraine like symptoms can also occur such as sensitive to light, sound or smell, nausea and vomiting.
What is the cause of Chronic Daily Headache Brisbane?
Through current research Chronic Daily Headache is a result of a problematic upper cervical spine, which is the upper neck region. Those with this condition have found to have the upper 3 cervical spine to be affected resulting in a SENSITISED BRAINSTEM as well as an up-regulated Trigemino-cervical nucleus (TCN)3. As a result, the sensitivity of the brainstem and TCN is now heightened which results in pain to be transmitted into the head via the trigeminal nerve. This referral pain is then perceived by patients as chronic daily headaches.
I’ve already tried everything. What else can be done to help Chronic Daily Headaches?
A lot of our patients say they have tried everything. A common issue our patients have found, is they still don’t know what the cause of their chronic daily headache is, despite seeing multiple health practitioners. At the Brisbane Headache and Migraine Clinic™, we see countless amounts of patients with Chronic Daily Headaches and utilise world-class techniques in assessing and treating this problem. A thorough examination of the upper cervical spine is initiated to determine the severity of your SENSITISED BRAINSTEM. An important factor that a chronic daily headache sufferer would need to establish and rule out, is whether or not their symptoms are resulting from a hypersensitive brainstem.
If your symptoms are coming from a sensitised brainstem, treatment can begin immediatley and you should expect a significant improvement to occur rapidly in 90% of our patients with Chronic Daily headache. We expect to observe this within the first 5 treatment consultation. We have treated countless of patients with Chronic Daily Headaches with significant results.
The best part about the treatment is being medication-free, surgery-free and invasive-free.
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1. Saper, JR. The mixed headache syndrome: a new perspective. Headache Disorders: Current Concepts in Treatment Strategies. Littleton, MA: Wright-PSG Publishers, 1983; 22:284-286.
2. Saper, JR, Silberstein SD, Godeon CD, Hamel RL.. Handbook of Headache Management: A Practical Guide to Diagnosis and Treatment of Head, Neck, and Facial Pain. 2nd ed. Baltimore: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 1999.
3. Bartsch T, Goadsby PJ. Stimulation of the greater occipital nerve (GON) enhances responsiveness of dural responsive convergent neurons in the trigeminocervical complex in the rat. Cephalalgia. 2001;21:401-402.
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