Is Constant Headache a Neurological Symptom?


A headache is a pain or discomfort felt in the head, face, scalp or back of the neck. The pain can also vary greatly in its intensity, location and frequency. As a result of this, headaches have been categorized into four major forms which include vascular headaches, muscle contraction or tension headaches, traction headaches and inflammatory headaches.

The average headache doesn’t require a visit to the doctor, usually a painkiller and some rest does the trick and you feel right as rain again. However, in some cases, the frequency of these headaches is much higher and you find yourself depending on medications on a very regular basis, and that’s when you definitely need help; this is because taking painkillers for more than 10 days in a month can put you at risk of getting low-grade rebound headaches too.

If you have headaches more than twice a week for which you need to depend on pain-killers, then you need to see your family doctor. And if you have constant daily headaches that disrupt your life and are present for at least 15 days of the month, for the past three months then a visit to the neurologist would be really worth your while. He would need to rule out the presence of secondary etiologies for your headache before commencing therapy and conduct a series of tests.

Headaches are complex and present as primary or secondary headaches. There can be various different etiologies associated with these headaches such as sleep disorders, sinus issues, various infections, trauma, and onset of periods or even bleeding within the brain. A neurologist with interest in headaches can help you differentiate between the different headache types and other factors which cause head pain and do not respond to regular pain medication – that are usually recommended by the general physicians.

Migraine headaches, cluster headaches, cervicogenic (neck-related) headaches, medication overuse headaches, tension headaches, chronic daily headaches (CDH), sinus headaches and post-trauma headaches all come under of the umbrella of headaches treatable by headache neurologists. There are many more different types of headaches treated by neurologists, but the general concept held by people is that only migraines are treated by neurologists.
Constant headaches are also known as chronic daily headaches and pretty much occur every day, messing up your daily routine. They usually evolve from migraines and tension headaches and treatment focuses on first finding the underlying cause of the pain, before breaking the cycle of reoccurrence and bringing some sanity back into your life. Chronic headaches affect almost 5% of the world population, with more women than men being affected; they result in disability and poor quality of life that the WHO compares to the secondary disability associated with quadriplegia, dementia and active psychosis.

A specific criterion for diagnosing chronic daily headaches is used by neurologists which cannot be done by non-specialists. Quite often neck and head imaging throw-up abnormalities in the brain, carotid or vertebral arteries that is crucial in the treatment regime. So a visit to the neurologists might result in the end to your headaches!

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