Most people get a headache from time to time, but if you have a headache most of the time, it is known as chronic daily headaches.
According to research by the Headache Clinic, almost 9 million South Africans suffer from headaches and migraines.
Headaches are broadly classified into two groups, viz. primary and secondary.
The most common primary headache is caused by abnormal tension in the muscles of the head and neck. This is mostly because of stress or anxiety.
Secondary headaches are caused by identifiable conditions such as illness, trauma, eating certain foods, changes in the weather, smoking or too much alcohol. You can even get a headache from taking too many headache pills.
Chronic daily headaches
Chronic daily headaches can be defined as headaches that occur on 15 days or more a month and for at least three months. To be classified as chronic daily headaches, they must not be the result of another condition.
According to the Medical Chronicle chronic daily headaches are classified according to how long they last. Those lasting more than four hours are most common and can be divided into four types:
Chronic migraine affects only one side of the head and causes a pulsating, throbbing sensation. It causes moderate to severe pain and can cause nausea or vomiting and sensitivity to light or sound. It is the most common type of chronic daily headache. Most people who suffer from chronic migraines have a history of episodic migraine that has evolved into daily headaches.
Chronic tension-type headache causes pain on both sides of the head and feels pressing but not pulsating. It causes mild to moderate pain and can cause mild nausea and sensitivity to light or sound.
A new daily persistent headache becomes constant from the moment it first appears. It causes mild to moderate pain and is a pressing or tightening pain.
Hemicrania continua causes pain on only one side of the head. These headaches are daily with no pain-free periods.
According to research children of mothers with chronic daily headaches are thirteen times more prone to developing the same problem.
It is recommended that people who think they suffer from chronic daily headaches consult a specialist seeing that there are many treatment options available once positively diagnosed. It is also important to keep a diary of your headaches as this will help the specialist with a diagnosis.
Sources: Medical Chronicle; The Headache Clinic