Daily headaches


Daily headaches are also known as muscle contraction or chronic daily headache, this is the most universal variety of headache. The majority people will have suffered from tension headaches at some point in their lives and never seek medical assistance but for a small minority of patients the condition is severe, long-standing and may be difficult to treat.

Causes of the daily headaches

It was long supposed that tension headaches were due to over contraction of the muscles covering the scalp and back of the neck. Nevertheless, all types of chronic headache may give rise to increased muscle tension and individuals with tension headaches often describe the continuous squeezing discomfort even when completely relaxed. Notwithstanding this condition being one of the most common to affect humans, surprisingly little is understood of the exact mechanisms giving rise to the symptoms. It is not uncommon for tension headaches and migraine to take place in the same individual, often with the migraine attack subsiding and evolving into a daily headache. Daily headaches are unquestionably more common in people suffering from anxiety and depression and effective treatment of these conditions may result in improvement of the headache. As daily headaches can last for a long time, this frequently arouses the suspicion in the sufferer and his or her doctor that a brain tumor could be the cause of symptoms. Though, this is extremely rare and fewer than two patients in every 1000 with tension headache will be found to have a brain tumor.

Symptoms

Daily headache generally affects both sides of the head, often involving the back of the head and neck but also frequently the sides and front of the head. Frequently, the entire head is affected in a diffuse manner. The pain is described as a dull, aching or squeezing but others frequently describe sensations such as fullness, tightness or pressure. At times there may be the sensation that the head is surrounded by a band or being compressed in a vice. The onset of the attack is generally more gradual than in migraine and the duration of the attack may range from hours to years. Regularly the sufferer will claim the pain is present every day without a break, although the intensity may vary considerably during this time. Sleep is not generally affected, although the headache is often present on waking or soon after. Daily headaches are not serious but are frequently quite unpleasant. There are several treatments available which can help reduce the pain but usually, in the long run, these headaches get better without treatment.

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