A new type of primary headache called the New Daily Persistent Headaches (NDPH) was recognized in 2004. NDPH is a subtype of Chronic Daily Headaches (CDH) that affects roughly 2% of those diagnosed with CDH. It is called “New” because it usually affects people with no prior history of headaches. As the name also suggests, the headache develops within days and is unrelenting, often lasting for months. The pain comes suddenly and in most cases, people can remember the exact date the headache began. Those with NDPH will notice that there are no “breaks” in the pain and taking painkillers often doesn’t work to relieve the headache and its symptoms.
People diagnosed with NDPH experience a mild to moderate pain felt on both sides of the head as if something is putting pressure on it. This type of headache isn’t necessarily debilitating, but it can affect a person’s life because of the incessant pain they feel. Other symptoms are similar to that of a migraine headache like nausea and sensitivity to both light and sound, but milder than that of migraines. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, or if you’ve been experiencing a constant headache for an extended period of time, consult a headache specialist immediately for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Possible Causes of New Daily Persistent Headaches
The exact cause of NDPH is still unknown; however, experts are looking at the angle that this condition is caused by a viral infection. Studies have been conducted to research the cause of New Daily Persistent Headaches and so far, the biggest clue they have is the disproportionally large percentage of people with NDPH who have been exposed to the Epstein-Barr virus which is a very common virus that can be found all around the world.
Treating New Daily Persistent Headaches
NDPH cases can be classified into two subtypes. The self-limiting type of NDPH usually resolves itself within several months without treatment. Patients with this type of NDPH usually remain headache-free up to two years after the first onset of the headache, and in some cases, the headaches never return. On the other hand, people with the refractory type of NDPH experience longer headache episodes which may last for years or in extreme cases, even decades. Unfortunately, both types of NDPH are resistant to common headache treatments. Doctors discourage the use of painkillers because of the risk of overmedication which can lead to more severe rebound headaches or withdrawal headaches when the patient stops taking them. Instead, doctors are prescribing anti-seizure medications such as Topamax or Neurontin to control or manage the headaches. Some doctors prefer prescribing migraine medications to help manage the headaches and to soothe the other symptoms of NDPH.
The pain and other symptoms caused by NDPH are milder in comparison to migraines and other forms of primary headaches; however, the incessant nature of the headaches makes this condition quite annoying and sometimes debilitating. In order to get relief, one must be diagnosed properly and get the right treatment medications. If you suspect that your headaches are caused by New Daily Persistent Headaches, consult a headache specialist immediately.