What are the causes and types of chronic headaches? Scroll down to find answers to these questions…
Headaches top the list of the most leading types of chronic pains. Most of us have headaches from time to time. It may sound as a fairly minor condition for many, but can be the cause of severe pain and discomfort for some people. There are people who suffer from persistent headaches everyday! The repetitive nature of these headaches can be quite a nuisance and can cause a lot of disturbance and irritation.
Chronic headaches can be caused due to several reasons. They can also be the result of an underlying serious condition. However, frequent headaches over a period of years, without any other symptom, are almost certain to be harmless. These headaches are classified into different categories based on the nature and severity of the condition. The two main categories are primary headaches and secondary headaches. Primary headaches are the ones that are not attributed to any underlying condition. Migraine headaches, tension headaches and cluster headaches are some examples of primary headaches. Headaches triggered by other medical conditions such as hypertension, sinusitis, meningitis, head trauma, brain tumors, etc. are termed as secondary headaches.
Chronic migraines are characterized by throbbing pain on only one side of the head. They generally cause a pulsating pain that can range from mild to severe. These headaches are triggered by routine physical activity and are often accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light and sound.
People suffering from tension headaches generally experience a tightening sensation around their head. These headaches may last for several days and are felt on both sides of the head as well as in the neck region. Stress and tension are the main triggers of this type of constant headaches and neck pain.
Hemicrania continua is characterized by continuous pain felt in only one side of the head. The pain does not shift sides and can be quite severe at times. Nasal congestion, redness or tenderness of the eye on the affected side, drooping of the eyelids and constriction of the pupil are some of the symptoms of this condition.
Cluster headaches are characterized by severe throbbing pain that can last for several months. The attacks generally occur in cyclical patterns or in clusters and a single cluster period can last for one to twelve weeks. The pattern may vary from person to person. The pain is generally one sided and is followed by nasal congestion and redness of the eye.
Infection and inflammation of the lining of the sinus cavities leads to a condition known as sinusitis. The pain associated with sinus headaches is generally felt in the region behind the eyes, ears, forehead and can sometimes radiate towards the nose and cheekbones.
Several factors such as anxiety, sleep disturbances, depression and obesity can increase the risk of developing severe headaches. Overuse of certain medication and physical postures that put strain on the head or neck can also be the reason for pain attacks associated with these recurring headaches.
The treatment for persistent headaches will vary depending on the cause of the headache. Mild headaches can be treated with over the counter painkillers. However, frequent use of these medications should be avoided as they can cause several other health problems. Constant headaches that are caused due to some underlying ailment often stop after treatment of that condition. However, when there is no other condition responsible for the headaches, the treatment should focus on preventing the pain before it occurs.
Frequent headaches should never be neglected, as early diagnosis and proper treatment can relieve you from the agonizing pain. So, if you are suffering from constant headaches, consult the doctor immediately!