Headache pain is unforgettable, despite what origin it might be from. While migraines tend to be the worst type, there are others that can prove to be just as incapacitating. Those who suffer from chronic headaches are often wary of venturing too far away from home for fear of the pain that comes on suddenly, and often times without warning.
What are Chronic Headaches?
Chronic daily headaches are abbreviated by medical practitioners as CDH’s. These are linked to a number of various disorders that all result in the sufferer enduring severe headaches for longer than 15 days out of a 30 day period. In order to be accurately diagnosed with this disorder you have to have been stricken with this malady for a period of at least 3 months, on a pretty consistent basis. It can’t be where you have an extreme headache one day and then go three or four days before coming down with another one. They almost run like clockwork, hitting hard and coming on pretty habitually for most. These chronic headaches are broken down even further into two specific categories by medical clinicians:
- Headaches which last longer than 4 hours
- Headaches lasting a little less than the standard four hours
Statistically speaking, on average there appears to be at least 5% of the population suffering with such headaches, and in fact they are the ones that are referred to specialists for possible treatment options. The majority of these patients do seek relief with over the counter remedies on a continual basis. While some do gain some alleviation, there are repercussions for becoming dependent on these synthetic remedies. Still, the mass majority are still plagued with symptoms. One of the major findings in this research can point out that the over use of these over the counter medications can be the direct result to some of the reoccurring problem. However, when a sufferer is dealing with excruciating pain almost every day, they have to find some way of relieving it, which leads thousands of them to their own treatment options.
Medical Treatment Options
It is depressing for some when they do visit a specialist only to be told that there is no prescription which will provide any benefit for them. It gets even worse when they hear there really are no treatment options that work effectively. This does take place for some of these patients, while others somehow end up on the lucky side of things, with treatment plans that seem to work for them. One of the most common recommendations is the advisement to steer clear of analgesic medications, or any other over the counter headache relief remedies. This leaves a sufferer very disheartened, and feeling at a loss as to how to recover from such a horrific ailment every day of their life.
The prevention strategies for these headaches do fluctuate from patient to patient; but, it basically all depends upon what form of headaches you’ve been diagnosed with, if the diagnosis is accurate. The reason this is stated is because more often than not CDH’s often get classified as Tension Headaches when they aren’t. The diagnosis can be tricky. As was stated previously, before any treatment plan can be instated for you, you have to quit taking pain relievers that you can get at any local drugstore. This is because the daily occurrences have to be proven to not be caused from the over usage of these over the counter meds.
Doctor Recommendations for Relief
If it has been found that you do have CDH’s, then there are many options you can try, with many proving to be an asset to the patient. The first is antidepressants. These work for many sufferer’s very well, with minimal side effects. Tricyclic antidepressants are what most doctors prescribe because they can combat a number of issues that often go along with chronic daily headaches, such as sleep deprivation and anxiety issues. Serotonin reuptake inhibitors can be good to have as well because often time’s patients who suffer with CDH’s often have depression anxiety issues which are concurrent with the medical issue. Other medications which are sometimes helpful are as follows:
- Beta blockers are another good option, and a medical practitioner might try a patient on these. While they are meant to help control blood pressure and other blood circulation disorders, they work well with easing headache pain. It is understandable as many headaches develop due to blood flow issues. These can definitely minimize and prevent the episodic of migraines.
- Anti-seizure medications work very well in controlling migraines and other more intense headaches such as the CDH’s. Topomax is one of the most common drugs prescribed, and if taken regularly then it can ward off an impended headache, or at least make it tolerable to deal with.
- NSAIDS are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs which have a proven track record in combatting various forms of headaches such as cluster headaches, tension, and migraine, and yes, even chronic daily headaches. Most are prescribed these to help wean them from pain medications, but they also have been found to have the ability to minimize the pain of the more severe headaches.
- Botulinum Toxin is botox injections which work incredibly well for some people who don’t normally respond in a positive manner to more traditional treatment methods. This isn’t for everyone by any means, but if nothing else has worked it might be the only option for the patient.