chronic-daily-headaches-find-reliefIt seems as if everyone has had a headache at one time or another. However, if you find yourself having more headaches than not, you may be suffering from chronic daily headaches. This means that you have more than 15 headaches during a 30-day period.  Because these headaches are so continuous, they are listed among the most disabling headaches. They leave people looking for answers and not knowing where to turn for help.

Symptoms of Chronic Daily Headaches

Chronic daily headaches occur for more than 15 days out of a month, for at least 3 months in a row. They are referred to as primary headaches because they are not caused by any other condition. There are short-lasting and long-lasting chronic daily headaches. Long-lasting are more than 4 hours and they include the following types of headaches:


  • Chronic tension-type headaches:


      • Both sides of the head are affected
      • Mild to moderate pain
      • Not made worse with physical activity
      • Pain is not pulsating but rather pressing or tightening
      • Some may have skull tenderness


  • Hemicrania continua:


    • Only one side of the head is affected
    • Cause moderate pain with spikes of severe pain
    • Are daily and continuous with no breaks in the pain
    • May become severe and develop migraine-like symptoms
    • Additionally, these headaches have at least one of the following:
  • Redness or tearing of the eye on the affected side
  • Pupil narrowing or droopy eyelid
  • Nasal congestion or runny nose
  • Feeling restless


  • New daily persistent headaches: These headaches usually come on in individuals who have no previous headache history. They are constant within three days of your first headache and have at least two of the following:


      • Pain that feels like pressing or tightening but not pulsating
      • Mild to moderate pain
      • Both sides of the head are affected
      • Are not aggravated by normal physical activity


  • Chronic migraines: People usually have these after experiencing a period of episodic migraines. These occur on 8 or more days a month for at least three months in a row and are known for the following characteristics:


    • Moderate to severe pain
    • Pulsating and throbbing sensation
    • Made worse by routine physical activity
    • Affects one or both sides of the head
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Sensitivity to light, sound, and some odors

Causes of Chronic Daily Headaches

The cause of these headaches remains a mystery among the medical community. There are some conditions that may cause secondary headaches that are chronic:

  • Infections, such as meningitis
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Brain tumor
  • Intracranial pressure
  • Inflammation or other issues with the blood vessels around the brain, such as stroke

Medication Overuse Headaches

This is one reason for chronic daily headaches that deserves its own subheading because it is very serious. These headaches are also referred to as rebound headaches and are brought about by regular, long-term use of medication that is used to care for headaches. Pain relievers can be helpful, but if they are used more than a couple of days per week, you may be in line to develop rebound headaches.

Which medications cause this? It seems as though any that are taken for pain relief can be to blame. This is true only if you already have a headache disorder. Taking pain relievers on a regular basis to care for arthritis will not cause you to develop rebound headaches if you don’t already have a headache disorder.

In order to stop these headaches, you have to stop taking pain medication altogether. The following, while different depending on which headache you have and what medication is used, are the most common symptoms of rebound headaches:

  • Happen almost every day, often waking you up in the early morning
  • Get better after taking pain medication but return as soon as it wears off
  • Irritability
  • Memory issues
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Restlessness
  • Listlessness

In order to prevent rebound headaches you may want to try the following:

  • Take your medication only as prescribed by your doctor
  • If you feel like you need headache medication more than twice a week, talk to your doctor
  • Avoid medications containing opioids and butalbital
  • Be sure not take OTC pain medications for more than 15 days in a month
  • Limit combination analgesics and triptans to no more than nine days a month
  • Avoid headache triggers
  • Get enough sleep
  • Don’t skip meals
  • Exercise regularly
  • Reduce stress
  • Relax
  • Lose weight
  • Quit smoking

Finding Answers to Chronic Daily Headaches

Numerous studies have linked migraines and other headaches to a misalignment in the bones of the upper cervical spine. The C1 and C2 vertebrae are designed to act as a protector of the brainstem. However, a minor blow to the head or neck, whiplash, a trip and fall, or a sporting accident can easily cause these bones to move out of place. They then begin to put pressure on the brainstem, leading it to send improper signals to the brain. The bones can also act as a hindrance to allowing blood and cerebrospinal fluid flow to exit and enter the brain in the proper amounts. All of this can lead to headaches.

Here at Atlas Family Health Center in Columbus, Ohio, we use a method that naturally encourages the bones to move back into their proper place. The procedure is both gentle and precise, not requiring us to pop or crack the spine or neck. Once this misalignment is corrected, many patients notice their headaches ease up in intensity and severity or go away altogether.