At The London Clinic we offer diagnosis and the latest treatments for chronic daily headaches. Book an appointment with one of our leading specialists and start your treatment today.
What are headaches?
Most people have a headache from time to time, and in the UK they account for one fifth of all outpatient referrals.
If you have a headache for fifteen days of the month or more it’s classed as a chronic daily headache.
Chronic daily headaches can affect your daily activities and last up to four hours a day.
There are different types of chronic daily headache including:
- Chronic migraine
- Chronic tension headache
- New daily persistent headache
- Cluster headache
- Hemicrania continua
What causes headaches?
Your headache symptoms will vary depending on the type of headache you have and the underlying reason you have a headache.
Many people who have chronic headaches don’t have an identifiable underlying cause, which is a primary or true headache.
In some cases a chronic headache can be a sign of something more serious (secondary headache) such as:
- Inflammation in the arteries
- Stroke or transient ischaemic attack (TIA)
- Infection (e.g meningitis)
- Brain tumour
- Traumatic brain injury
If you have a chronic headache or a sudden onset of symptoms that are severe it’s important that you see your doctor or specialist to have it checked.
Contact your doctor or go to A&E if you develop the following symptoms:
- Chronic headache that’s worse when you wake first thing in the morning
- Chronic headache that gets worse when you bend down or sneeze
- Headache with vomiting
- Headache with blurred vision
- Headache with a very high temperature
- Headache with slurred speech or confusion
- Headache with stiff neck
- Headache that starts five days after a head injury
- Thunderclap headache - severe striking pain (that could be due to a brain bleed)
What are the symptoms of daily headache syndrome?
There are a number of different headache symptoms depending on the type of headache you have.
Symptoms of chronic and intermittent migraines include:
- Throbbing pain usually on one side of the head
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- Nausea and vomiting
Symptoms of chronic and intermittent tension headache include:
- Pressing pain like a tight band around the head, usually the forehead and both sides of the head
Symptoms of chronic and intermittent cluster headache include:
- Intense, stabbing sensation usually around the eye
- The eye or eyes sometimes water
Symptoms of new daily persistent headache include:
- Pressing or tightening pain (not stabbing) that becomes constant within three days
- Symptoms that are similar to chronic migraine or chronic tension headache
Symptoms of hemicrania continua headache include:
- Pain on one side of the head that can be migraine like
- Watering eye
- Redness in the eye
- Eyelid drooping
- Narrowing of the eye pupil
How are headaches diagnosed?
During your visit to The London Clinic your specialist will take your full medical history and ask you about your symptom pattern.
They will need to know when your headaches started and if anything makes them worse.
Based on your headache signs and symptoms your specialist will diagnose the type of headache you have and rule out any secondary underlying causes.
They may send you for a blood test, an MRI or CT scan to get more in depth detail in order to provide you with the right treatment.
Your specialist may ask you to keep a diary of your headache symptoms for the first month of treatment.
The diary is a good way to map the frequency and severity of your symptoms in order to treat it effectively.
One of the most common severe headaches we treat is migraine.
Around 50% of our patients experience acute migraines and a proportion of these have chronic migraine (for at least 15 days per month).
How are headaches treated at The London Clinic?
Your treatment will depend on your diagnosis and the cause of your headache.
We will tailor your treatment to your lifestyle and individual needs.
For chronic daily headache syndrome, due to tension headaches, we offer medication and physiotherapy, which many of our patients find gives them effective long term relief.
For migraine headaches your specialist may help you to identify and avoid any triggers such as certain foods, overuse of painkillers, stress or dehydration.
If you have cluster headaches we can offer you oxygen therapy which is fast acting and effective for excruciating pain that is only available for patients who are twelve years or older.
Another treatment our patient’s find helpful is neuromodulation which helps to alter your brain’s response to pain.
Neuromodulation is particularly effective if you have cluster headaches.
Many of our patients report on becoming virtually symptom free after following one of our tailored treatment plans.
In the few patients who don’t respond well, we continue to investigate and try different treatments and combinations of medication to reduce your headache frequency and severity.
At The London Clinic our specialists are world leaders in their field. While you’re with us you’ll receive excellent care from pre-assessment right through to any treatment and aftercare.