Chronic Daily Headache Prevention: Why is it so Difficult?

puzzle“I’ve tried everything and nothing helps my chronic daily headaches.” How many times have you uttered something similar? A HealthTalk Q & A gives some common reasons why:

  1. Medication overuse (rebound) headaches
  2. Failure to treat a co-existing medical condition such as depression or a sleep disorder
  3. Unrecognized medication-induced headaches, such as might occur from cholesterol drugs, proton-pump inhibitors for GERD, and anti-depressants
  4. Failure to investigate the possibility of relatively rare causes of headaches such as abnormalities at the base of the skull and top of the spine (craniocervical junction), intracranial hypotension (low-pressure headache), sinus abnormalities, and food or environmental allergies

Sadly, none of these reasons explain my chronic daily headaches. How about you?

photo by Erik Araujo


18 Responses to “Chronic Daily Headache Prevention: Why is it so Difficult?”

  1. Rain Gem Says:

    Scratch off 1 and 3 for me – I did that.

    Not too sure about 4 but I’ve had migraines since I was a kid, so, not very likely.

    And treating depression and sleep disorder, well, not really an option, considering the sort of drugs they’d put you on…

    But that’s migraine. Chronic daily headaches I’ve developed and then managed to knock them off. Not even sure how. Funny how that works.

  2. Dorci Says:

    I have been having daily headaches for almost 2 1/2 years. I just went to my third neurologist and explained to him exactly how my headaches started (with a sudden, terrible headache one day, and then every day since), how they feel (a squeezing all around the top of my head), what seems to make them go away, at least for a time (lying down for a while), and he knew almost right away that I most likely have a spinal fluid leak. Can’t tell you how excited I was to hear that. The test, he said, was to lie down on my bed when I have a headache and put my head down over the edge. That would force spinal fluid into my head and the headache would go away. I tried it, and my headache was gone. At least while I was hanging upside down. ;o) So don’t give up, keep searching for the doctor who will be able to help.

  3. Carapace Says:

    I laughed a hard, bitter laugh about the sleep disorder comment. My sleep has defied all schedule, remedies, therapy and meds since I was born. I don’t think my brain likes the trick.

    Being told that my unpattern of sleep might cause health problems makes me want to shake someone. Ya think, doc?

    Sigh. Switching to Keto-Atkins has made a big difference, though. From week-long migraines, to once or twice a day for a few hours. It really is better.

  4. Andy Says:

    None of those reasons explain my 4-year long headache. I’ve just had to learn to live with it, which I’m managing to do. According to that article, though, I may experience some relief around age 55 (17 years away). I probably won’t keep my fingers crossed that long.

    Keep up the good work on the blog, Kerrie. It helps to know others are out there dealing with the same frustrating things.

  5. Shawnie Says:

    I have had migraines for 30 years and chronic daily headaches for 25. Like Andy says none of those reasons explain my 25-year long headache.

  6. Linz Says:

    If they included untreated myofascial pain syndrome as a comorbid condition in tht list then it might apply to a lot more people.

  7. becky Says:

    Nope. Doesn’t explain mine either. Well, maybe what I should say is I *think* mine are hormonally based, yet no one has been able to balance my hormones in such a way as to eliminate the h/a. Monkeying with my hormones *does* reduce frequency/intensity, but never eliminates. I’ve had a headache every single day since age 14, so 25 years now. It hurts just to write that.

    I’m about to embark on a hypnotherapy odyssey in the hopes of helping me control pain better. I may not be able to fix the h/a, but maybe I can at least make them less prominent in my day-to-day life.

  8. Andy R Says:

    My name is also Andy. I have had chronic daily headaches for almost 5 years. I have been to see over 20 doctors, spent 2 weeks at MHNI (Michigan Headache and Neuro Clinic) and tried every medicine under the sun but have a terrible headache 24/7. Does anyone have a suggestion about meds that might help with the pain I live with every day or a doctor that I have not tried that might offer a solution?

    Sorry to hear there are so many people hurting out there. It’s terrible to feel this way and most people don’t understand.


  9. K1Frog2 Says:

    My headache has a reason.Traumatic brain injury. But it still doesn’t have a cure. I’d gladly give up the reason for a little relief. I’m thinking of a nice coma for my next vacation…

  10. Glenn Stewart Coles Says:

    While there are many things that contribute to chronic daily headache, habitual pain response is part of the condition. When we feel the beginnings of a headache we expect it to get worse, and our body reacts accordingly. We know the feeling of ‘oh no here it comes again’. From that point we follow a patterned response developed over dozens of headaches.
    I had migraines and cluster headaches for over twenty years. They are now gone. One of the key reasons I could eliminate migraines was learning how to quiet my mind and change my reaction. Now instead of expecting a headache to escalate, I expect it to diminish and go away and it does.
    I am not saying that the skill of diminishing headaches is easy, just that it is achievable.

  11. Jaymi Says:

    My CDH started with a terrible tooth ache, and then another bad tooth and then another…6 years ago and still the headache. You know what I hate? I hate that when I read that list I question myself and my symptoms for the thousanth time and wonder, maybe I’ve missed something. Because is this really possible to feel this way without a reason?????

  12. Matt Says:


    If you can email me that would be great…I also had a head injury that started the headached…dont seem to find anyone else that did..It was a concussion from a fall.been 2 years now. headache 24/7 currently on topamax.

  13. gluten free Says:

    gluten intolerance seems to have been the cause of my CDH. Still working on the migraines……

  14. Barb J Says:

    My name if Barb and I can relate to Andy R. I too have been to the MHNI. The only treatment that seemed to give temporary relief was a cervical epideral. It relieved most of my CDH’s for about 1 1/2 months. But a second epideral was not affective. I too have seen many neurologists and tried all medications known to man. I have also have had many different procedures from Botox to cervical epiderals, acupunture, nerve blocks. All to no affect. I have recently been looking into a Dr.Ivica DucicGeorgetown Univ a Plastic Surgeon with a specialty in Peripheral Nerve problems. He suggests that if Botox , cervical epiderals or nerve blocks give temporary relief he can help. His surgery involves microsurgery that involves treating the nerves and or muscles in the head and or neck and is successful 70-75 percent of the time.His website is

  15. dsfm_ Says:

    i’ve had CDH for the last 2 and a bit years now, i started a new job and within a week i had a migrane the pain eased off but i was left with daily headaches. the doctor has tried many different medication that has not worked. when i asked to be referred to a neurologist he told me i did not have a brain tumor and that he needed to find a suitable medication that would ease them. nobody seems to understand what there like and how they make you feel. they think cos i look okay that i must be exaggerating the pain.

  16. lisa Says:

    I have had a chronic daily headache all day everyday for a year now and just can’t bear it anymore my head hurts all over not just in one place the pressure is unbearable and i also get alot of pressure in my face no body seems to understand but this is not how i wanted to live my life have had mri ct scan etc.. and all came back normal i do worry that there is something more to this daily pain but the doctors i have seen do not seem to think it is anything more than a chronic daily headache but god it hurts and i am in pain every single day from the moment i wake till till the moment i go to bed no meds seem to help and this is ruining my family life anyone out there had any relieve would be great to know.

  17. Nichole Says:

    I’ve been having chronic headaches for the past 4 years. Some days it’s just a dull ache and other days I can’t even function. It ruins my time with my family just trying to deal with this chronic pain. I’ve been put on different migrane/tension headache medications and none of them have worked. Some doctors blame it on hormones (which have tested 100% NORMAL) and others just say it’s stress. I just wish I could find a cure! Thank you for creating this blog! It’s helped me a lot already, just knowing there are other sufferers out there!

  18. Kelli Says:

    The entire year of 2008 I battled breast cancer. I am cancer free but the stress of everyting kinda got to me. I have been having chronic daily headaches for quite some time now and have tried many different migraine meds. My doctor just recently started me on a prednisone regimen that he recently learned about and swears by it. He said it should take up to ten days to be sure it is going to work, but so far, day 2, and the headache doesn’t seem as bad. It is still there but not as strong so time will tell if the prednisone works. It seems way to simple to be the solution, but you never know sometimes less is more.

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