Headache (Chronic Daily)

Chronic headaches are well-treated using naturopathic medicine.

Headaches take many forms, and affect most people from time to time. “Chronic” headache refers to having headaches more than 15 days a month for more than three months.

The causes chronic daily headaches are not well-understood. True (primary) chronic daily headaches don’t have an identifiable underlying cause.

Chronic daily headaches are associated with increased rates of depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances and other psychological and physical problems.

Seek professional healthcare if (your headaches):

  • Occur two or more times weekly
  • Require daily use of pain relievers
  • Require more than the recommended dose of over-the-counter pain medicines for relief
  • Change in pattern or symptoms
  • Are getting worse
  • Are disabling

Seek emergency medical care if your headache:

  • Is sudden and severe
  • Accompanies a fever, stiff neck, rash, confusion, seizure, double vision, weakness, numbness or difficulty speaking
  • Follows a head injury
  • Gets worse despite rest and pain medication

Symptoms of Chronic Daily Headaches

The four most common types of chronic headaches and their possible symptoms are:

Chronic migraine:

  • Possibly preceded by an aura
  • Pain affecting one or both sides of your head
  • Pain of a pulsating or throbbing quality
  • Moderate to severe pain intensity
  • Aggravated by physical activity
  • Nausea or vomiting and/or sensitivity to light and sound

Chronic tension-type headache:

  • Pain typically affecting both sides of your head
  • Skull tenderness
  • Pain of a pressing or tightening quality (but not pulsating)
  • Mild to moderate pain intensity
  • Not aggravated by physical activity

New daily persistent headache:

  • Starts suddenly and occurs daily within three days of onset
  • Pain affecting both sides of your head
  • Pain of a tightening or pressing quality (but not pulsating)
  • Mild to moderate pain intensity
  • Not aggravated by physical activity

Hemicrania continua:

  • Daily and consistent pain, with no pain-free periods
  • Pain affecting only one side of your head
  • Moderate intensity of pain, interspersed with brief episodes of severe pain
  • Tearing or redness of the eye on the affected side
  • Drooping of the eyelid or pupil narrowing on the affected side
  • Nasal congestion or runny nose on affected side

Treatment of Chronic Daily Headaches at Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine

At Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine, the goal of chronic daily headache treatment is to reduce or eliminate headache pain, and prevent headache recurrence.

Conventional treatment of chronic headaches may include a variety of medications, including antidepressants, beta blockers, anti-seizure medications or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These treatments may have short- or long-term side effects.

For this reason, you may choose to try natural treatment to possibly avoid use of conventional medications, or together with conventional medications in order to decrease dosages of conventional medications required to manage your chronic headache symptoms.

Naturopathic treatment of any chronic health concern must be recognized as a process that involves:

  • Identifying specific treatment goals
  • Development by your naturopathic doctor, of a thorough understanding of all factors affecting your health, including physical, psychological, emotional and lifestyle factors
  • Development of a comprehensive treatment plan
  • Implementation and maintenance of that plan through periodic monitoring and adjustment

At Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine, a typical approach to treating chronic headaches, including migraine and cluster headaches, may be to:

Where appropriate, a number of therapeutic options are available, to be used alone, or more often in a complementary fashion, including:

Treatments provided by naturopathic doctors and registered massage therapists are covered by most extended healthcare plans.

References

Chronic daily headaches [Internet]. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; [cited 2009 Feb 18]. Available from: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/chronic-daily-headaches/DS00646.

Chronic daily headaches [Internet]. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; [cited 2015 Mar 28]. Available from: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/chronic-daily-headaches/basics/symptoms/con-20025386.

 

 

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