Chronic Headaches

A headache is a pain that is experienced at the head or the upper neck. When a person is experiencing headaches for more days than fifteen days in a given month, it is considered that the person is experiencing daily chronic headaches.  If this is happening for at least three consecutive months then it is considered to be  as a chronic headache.  The chronic headaches should however not be brought on by any another medical condition.  Daily chronic headaches are classified by how long they last, that is, headaches that last for at least four hours, and those that last for less than four hours.

Chronic Headaches Lasting for at Least Four Hours

Chronic Migraine


At least two of these symptoms of chronic migraine must experienced:

  • Affect only one side of the head
  • Cause a pulsating pain
  • Cause moderate to severe pain
  • Are aggravated by routine physical activity

These symptoms  may result in nausea, vomiting or both, along with  sensitivity to light.

Chronic Tension-Type Headache

These types of chronic headaches are the most common, and evolve from episodes that may last for hours or be constant. They occur in response to the muscles which cover the head becoming stressed, and then they start to contract and cause pain.


The symptoms of chronic tension-type headaches include:

  • Mild to moderate pain on both sides of the head.
  • The pain being experienced feels tightening or pressing, but not pulsating.
  • The headaches are not aggravated by routine physical activities.

The symptoms cause sensitivity to light and mild nausea.

New Daily Persistent Headache

Within a few days after experiencing the first headache, the condition gets consistent.


At least two symptoms of new daily persistent headache are experienced,these are:

  • Pain on both sides of the head.
  • The pain is pressing or tightening, but not pulsating.
  • The pain is moderate to mild.
  • It is not aggravated by routine physical activities

The symptoms cause sensitivity to light and or mild nausea.

Hemicrania Continua

The main symptom experienced with hemicrania continua, is pain on one side of the head that does not shift sides.


  • The chronic headaches are daily and continuous with no pain free-periods.
  • The pain is most times moderate but there will be spikes of severe pain.
  • If migraine develops, the symptoms might become severe.

The symptoms results in at least one of the following:

  • Tearing or redness of the eye, that is on the affected side.
  • Nasal congestion or runny nose.
  • Constriction of the pupil or dropping of the eyelid

Chronic Headaches Lasting for Less Than Four Hours

  • Chronic cluster headache
  • Chronic paroxysmal hemicrania
  • Short lasting neuralgiform headache attacks with conjunctival infection and tearing (SUNCT)

Important to Note

Primary daily chronic headaches do not have an underlying cause that is identifiable.

Related Reading On Chronic Headaches

Related Posts