Chronic daily headaches


Most people occasionally have headaches. However, you may get chronic daily headaches if you experience a headache more often than not.

Chronic daily headaches encompass a number of distinct headache subtypes rather than a single headache type. Chronic describes both the frequency and duration of the headaches.
Chronic daily headaches stand out as one of the most incapacitating forms of headache conditions due to their persistent and unchanging nature.

Headaches may be less frequent as a result of aggressive initial treatment and stable, long-term maintenance.


Chronic daily headaches are those that last for at least 15 days out of every 30 and last longer than three months. True chronic daily headaches have no secondary etiology.

Chronic daily headaches encompass both brief and extended durations. Long-lasting headaches persist for over four hours.

They consist of:

  • New daily persistent headache
  • Hemicrania continua
  • Chronic migraine
  • Chronic tension-type headache
Chronic migraine

Individuals with a history of episodic migraines are more likely to experience this type. Chronic headaches typically:

  • Impact either one side or both sides of your head
  • Results to moderate to severe pain
  • Feels like a throbbing, pulsing sensation

One of the following may also come up as a result of this condition:

  • Being sensitive to sound or light
  • Nausea or vomiting
Chronic tension-type headache

These type of headaches:

  • Ranges from mild to moderate pain
  • Occurs on both sides of your head
  • Produce pain that isn’t pulsating but feels pressing or tight.
New daily persistent headache

These headaches arise suddenly, typically in individuals with no prior history of headaches. Within three days following your initial headache, they start to become regular. They:

  • Ranges from mild to moderate pain
  • Frequently affect both sides of your head
  • Produce pain that isn’t pulsating but feels pressing or tight.
  • May exhibit symptoms of chronic migraine or chronic tension-type headache
Hemicrania continua

These kind of headaches:

  • Only impact one side of your head.
  • Respond to the painkiller indomethacin.
  • Occur continuously and regularly, with no pain-free intervals
  • Induce moderate pain accompanied by occasional intense spikes of severe pain.
  • May escalate to a severe level, accompanied by the emergence of symptoms resembling migraines.

Hemicrania continua headaches also have at least one of the following symptoms:

  • Pupils constriction
  • Eyelid drooping
  • Runny nose
  • Nasal congestion
  • Being restless
  • Tearing or redness in the eye on the side that is affected.

Infrequent headaches are widespread and typically don’t need medical attention. To the contrary, consult a doctor if:

  • A change in your headache pattern or a worsening of your symptoms
  • Your headaches are incapacitating.
  • You typically get two headaches or more per week.
  • You typically take a painkiller for your headaches.
  • To treat your headaches, use more over-the-counter painkillers than is prescribed.

If your headache displays any of the following symptoms, it is advisable to seek immediate medical attention:

  • Comes along with symptoms including a fever, stiff neck, confusion, seizures, double vision, weakness, numbness, or trouble speaking.
  • Abrupt and severe.
  • Worsens despite rest and painkillers.
  • Occurs following an injury.


True (primary) chronic daily headaches don’t have a known underlying cause, while nonprimary chronic daily headaches can result from a variety of conditions, some of which are not well understood in terms of their etiology.

  • Brain injury from trauma
  • An inflammation or other issues with the blood vessels in and around the brain, such as stroke.
  • Inappropriate intracranial pressure, either high or low.
  • Infections like meningitis.
  • Brain tumor
Medication overuse headache

People who have an episodic headache disease, typically a tension or migraine headache, and take too much pain medication are more likely to get this type of headache. You run the risk of getting rebound headaches if you use painkillers, including over-the-counter ones, more than two days a week (or nine days a month).

Risk factors

The following are some causes of recurrent headaches:

  • Gender: being female
  • Being obese
  • Overconsumption of caffeine
  • Excessively taking medications for headache or other pain killers for a long time
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Sleeping problems
  • Snoring
  • Other chronic pain conditions