You’re Not Alone —Migraines May Be More Common Than You Think

A woman with a headache massaging her temples.
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For those who suffer from migraines, the fear of one striking at the worst moment is almost as impactful as the pain of the headache itself. According to the National Headache Foundation, an estimated 45 million Americans suffer from chronic headaches each year.

Chronic Daily Headaches

A headache is bad, but frequent headaches can make going to work, taking care of children and other daily responsibilities seem impossible. A chronic daily headache is one that occurs 15 days or more a month for longer than three months, and the type of headache can vary, including:

Chronic Migraine

  • Affect one or both sides of your head
  • Can cause nausea or vomiting, as well as sensitivity to light and sound
  • Cause moderate to severe pain
  • Present with a pulsating, throbbing pain
  • May be worsened by routine physical activity

Chronic Tension-Type Headache

  • Affects both sides of your head
  • Causes mild to moderate pain
  • Present with a pressing or tightening feeling

Chronic Cluster Headache

  • Severe pain on one side of the head lasting 15 minutes to 3 hours
  • Can occur multiple times a day
  • Present with red or teary eyes, stuffy nose and/or restlessness among other symptoms
  • Chronic cluster headache usually does not subside if no prevention is given

New Daily Persistent Headache

  • Comes suddenly, usually you will remember the date of the onset of these headaches
  • Pain that becomes constant within 24 hours of onset
  • May affect one or both sides of your head, usually both sides

Caring for Your Headaches

Infrequent headaches are common for many people and are probably not a cause for concern.
Consider seeking the attention of a headache specialist if:

  • You have two or more headaches per week
  • Your headache pattern changes or gets worse
  • Suddenly you start experiencing headaches
  • Current headache medications are not working.
  • Your headaches are becoming so severe that your quality of life is being affected and you are missing social gatherings, school, and/or work.

If you are suffering from headaches or migraines, you will find the care and support you need at the AdventHealth Neuroscience Institute. Bernadette Nazario, MD, PharmD, is the Medical Director of Headache Medicine and she can help to identify the cause of your condition and develop the ideal treatment program for you.

“If you are not satisfied with your current treatment, please consider seeking a referral to a headache specialist. A headache specialist will work with you in designing a customized treatment plan for your headaches, improving your quality of life,” says Dr. Nazario.

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