Chronic Pain & Headaches? It’s Time to Do More Than Just Manage
Almost everyone has suffered from a headache at some point in their lives, but around 15% of the population suffers from chronic headaches, with most of this group not ever really receiving proper or sufficient treatment to reduce the frequency and intensity of these headaches. If you or someone you know is suffering from chronic headaches, contact Koala® Center For Sleep & TMJ Disorders for more information or book an appointment online. We have convenient locations across the U.S. in Bloomington IL, Peoria/Dunlap IL, Mishawaka IN, Kansas City MO, El Paso TX, and Wausau WI.
Table of Contents:
Can chronic pain cause headaches?
What are the long-term effects of chronic headaches?
Should I be worried if I have headaches every day?
Why do I have continuous headaches and am constantly in pain?
How do you manage chronic headaches?
Suffering from chronic headaches can have a variety of negative impacts on your health and quality of life in general, so it is always recommended that no matter how insignificant the chronic headaches may seem, it is definitely worth receiving medical treatment to reduce unnecessary suffering wherever possible.
Chronic pain is categorized as persisting for longer than 12 weeks in a row, and can include headaches as its own type of chronic pain, but is very common for those suffering from other types of chronic pain to also experience headaches as well. Chronic headaches on top of other chronic pain can make it much more complex in treating all existing pain as they often need to be addressed differently, with some treatments being effective for the general chronic pain and other treatments being more effective for chronic headaches; there is not always a ton of overlap with these treatments.
Suffering from chronic headaches can quickly take a toll on all other aspects of life, both physically and psychologically. Chronic headaches can quickly impede one’s ability to both fall asleep and stay asleep, disrupting their ability to function properly throughout the day due to being tired; irregular sleep patterns have also shown to have long-term effects on the body including reduced cardiovascular health. Daily headaches also frequently lead to increased risk of psychological disorders including depression and anxiety. Leaving chronic headaches untreated can lead to worsening symptoms especially if at-home remedies include regularly taking pain medication, to which a tolerance can build, making them less effective but also making the patient increasingly dependent on them in order to function. Taking pain medication for chronic headaches every day can lead to rebound headaches.
Occasional headaches are fairly normal and can typically be indicative of minor dehydration, fatigue, hunger, or the body just communicating that it requires care. However, if you consistently suffer from two or more headaches on a weekly basis, this can be an indication of either chronic headaches or an underlying condition that is causing the headaches. It is highly recommended that those who are suffering from daily headaches seek medical attention, not only to rule out possibly serious health conditions that are causing the headaches, but also to provide relief and treatment for the headaches themselves. No one should have to just suffer from daily pain, there are several different treatment options for chronic headaches; even if the condition is not deemed serious, it is well worth having it assessed and treated by a medical professional to prevent any unnecessary suffering.
There are several potential causes of chronic headaches, including a different type of chronic pain, or underlying condition that may result in increased tension in muscles around the neck, jaw, and head. One very common cause for daily headaches and pain is temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, which involves sometimes constant tension in the TMJ, extending from the jaw, through the cheeks, and providing sensations of jaw and head pain. TMJ often occurs from subconscious clenching of the jaw and can often lead to significant triggers for headaches and migraines, typically either initiating them or making them worse. Often, treating TMJ disorder through prevention can provide significant relief for those who suffer from chronic headaches and migraines.
In order to manage and treat chronic headaches, it is important to determine the potential and likely triggers causing flare-ups, with common triggers including environmental triggers, stress, diet (sensitivities to specific foods or drinks), sleeping habits (patterns, disruptions, etc.), or another underlying physical condition. Treating the cause of the chronic headaches, for example, if the headaches are due to tension caused by TMJ, treating the TMJ disorder can result in a substantially decreased occurrence of headaches.