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  • Dr. Mark Freund

Managing Chronic Daily Headaches

woman suffering a migraine

Most of us get headaches from time to time, while some get headaches once in a while, others suffer from headaches daily. In many cases, the cause of chronic headaches is unknown, while there are many triggers, some are caused by excessive use of painkillers.

Chronic Daily Headache: Definition

Chronic headaches are headaches of almost any kind that occur over a period of more than 15 days in a month or more, having a structural or contagious cause. The definition of chronic headache is a headache disorder that occurs at least three days a week or more. Chronic migraine and chronic headache refer to headache disorders that may result in nausea, vomiting, dizziness, or other symptoms of a chronic illness.

Importance of Headache Diagnosis

Patients with chronic headaches should provide their medical history and may undergo a physical examination, such as a CT scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the head. Clinical history can help to identify what types of primary causes are present to rule out other secondary causes. It is important that you pay attention to all red flags that indicate a primary cause of headaches and work with our team to identify potential solutions.

patient complaining about headache

The term chronic daily headache (CDH) is independent of the type of headache but is diagnosed when the headache occurs for more than 15 days in a month. There are three types of migraines: acute, chronic, and chronic migraine headaches, but there is no definitive definition as to which is chronic and which is not.

Chronic headaches are often considered migraines that last four hours or more a day. To make a diagnosis of chronic daily headaches, your doctor must determine what the underlying cause is before making a diagnosis. If you are experiencing chronic headaches or migraines with symptoms that are indistinguishable, you should consult an experienced neurologist.

Risks for Progression of Headaches

Many people suffer from chronic migraines and chronic headaches that are associated with varying symptoms. After withdrawal from medication, most people will experience their previous headache but only for a short period of time. Taking more medications to treat each new headache leads to shorter and shorter periods of pain relief.

man with headache on video call with chiropractor

In someone whose migraine has turned into a chronic migraine, they are likely to return to episodic migraine, and full recovery after treatment can take several months. Chronic headaches can occur when tension levels are high, making typical migraine headaches become more frequent and intense. Chronic migraines can also occur in patients with migraine attacks who have chronic headaches.

Patients with this type of headache may suffer from Arnold Chiari malformation and other neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, or Huntington’s disease. Seizure medications seem to prevent migraines and are often used to prevent chronic headaches.

How to Reduce Risk of Headache Progression?

Pharmacological therapy includes anti-inflammatory drugs, painkillers, and other medications. Non-pharmacological treatments include acupuncture, chiropractic massage, and manual therapy. You can manage your headaches by getting familiar with a certain type of therapy such as manual therapy, acupuncture, and other services that your chiropractor recommends based on your treatment plan.

Studies have shown that acupuncture helps reduce the frequency and intensity of chronic headaches. There is also evidence that acupuncture, in combination with medical therapies, can be a helpful treatment for chronic or daily headaches. This non-invasive modality may be useful in the treatment of chronic headaches and chronic migraines.

chiropractor massaging neck of patient

Manual therapies can be particularly helpful if you have chronic headaches such as migraines, chronic fatigue syndrome, or chronic pain. These therapies can reduce stress, promote relaxation, relieve pain and even lower blood pressure. Before you try this complementary or alternative therapy, it is important to discuss the risks and benefits with your Chiropractor to understand how it could help.

Contact Natural Chiropractic Care today to learn more about how to manage chronic daily headaches and find the best treatment for your condition.

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