Almost all people will have a headache at some point in their lives, however for some individuals a headache is not an occasional occurrence, but an everyday problem. A chronic daily headache may have several causes. There are many types of headaches, such as migraines, sinus headaches, tension headaches and head pain caused from neck or jaw problems.
The first step in getting relief from a chronic daily headache is diagnosing which type of headache is occurring. Certain types of headaches will respond better to certain treatments. A complete physical and medical history may be needed. Additional testing may be needed, such as a sinus x-ray, dental exam or a CT scan of the head.
Once the type of chronic daily headache has been determined, a treatment plan can be developed. Treatment may consist of a combination of medications, lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise and relaxation exercises. In some instances, treating the underlying cause of the headaches may be needed. For example, chronic daily sinus headaches may be caused by a sinus infection and require antibiotics.
Medications are often one of the first treatments for a chronic daily headache. Different types of medication may be prescribed depending on the type of headache. Certain beta blockers and anti-seizure medications may be used to prevent daily migraine headaches. Non-steroidal medication may be prescribed to reduce pain. Narcotic pain killers may be a last resort, since they can become addictive.
For individuals who suffer from chronic daily stress headaches, stress reduction techniques may help. Daily meditation or breathing exercises, along with exercise, may help release stress and reduce headaches. An individual with a chronic daily headache caused by muscles tension in the neck and shoulders may benefit from weekly massages or physical therapy to stretch and strengthen the neck muscles.
If pain medications and lifestyle changes don’t stop headaches, injections may be used to treat some people. A pinched nerve in the neck may also cause headaches. Steroids or lidocaine may be injected into one of the nerves, such as the occipital nerve, to block the pain receptors. Doctors may also use Botox®, which is injected into the muscles of the neck to relieve headaches, which are caused by muscle spasms in the neck.
Learning ways to prevent daily chronic headaches is usually suggested by doctors. Identifying headache triggers by keeping a written log of what you ate, drank and were doing prior to the headache, may help you figure out the cause. Once triggers are found, changes in lifestyle may help reduce the frequency of headaches.