New Daily Persistent Headaches

Headaches Happen...

Headaches are often just part of life for most people. They come and they go and usually we attribute them to stress or some illness. However, perhaps one of the most debilitating, although not the most painful of headaches, is the new daily persistent headaches that attack people who have no history of migraines or headaches of any sort. They hit suddenly, recur frequently, and linger for what seems forever.

...But, Every Day?

Not entirely unlike a migraine, new daily persistent headaches (NDPH) cause a pressing, tightening, throbbing pain on one or both sides of the head.

Nausea and light sensitivity as well as noise sensitivity are all possible accompanying symptoms of this type of headache. Usually most people, about 60%, suffer mild to moderate pain symptoms. However, for 80% of people suffering with them, the pain can last for up to eight hours or more.

Diagnosing NDPH

In order for NDPH to be diagnosed, the person must have headache pain that lasts longer than four hours a day for at least two months, presenting daily within three days of the first headache.

The onset is extremely sudden, so much so that most people who get them can pinpoint the exact day they began. Most often, the people who have NDPH have no history of headaches or migraines.

The headaches may coincide with an infection, surgery or stress, but there is not enough evidence to make this statement conclusive.

Chronic Daily Headaches

Chronic daily headaches (CDH) affect about 5% of the population and NDPH fall into this category. A diagnosis for CDH requires a person to have headaches for at least 15 days of a month for a one month period.

People who deal with NDPH have headaches that are more frequent and last for a longer time. These headaches strike individuals between the ages of 12 and 78 with women being 2.5 times more likely to have them than men. Typically, they start when they are in their 20s or 30s, but men who are diagnosed usually experience the onset much later, in their 50s.

The Epstein-Barr Virus Connection

While there is no definitive cause for new daily persistent headaches, several studies have indicated a strong connection between the headaches and the presence of an infection. Some researchers have found a link between the Epstein - Barr virus (EBV) and NDPH which can infect the nerves of the body causing migraine and headache symptoms.

The virus also infects the liver which can trigger headaches as well. It is thought that the Epstein - Barr virus may cause neurological inflammation that result in chronic pain symptoms, like NDPH.

EAlthough headaches can be treated with prescription strength anti-inflammatory medications, it is well known that these medications can cause heart attacks and strokes, especially in people with a history of heart disease, as well as intestinal bleeding and stomach bleeding when used for extended periods of time.

Things To Do To Relieve Headaches

The natural way to relieve NDPH that result from mononucleosis is to relax the nerves and muscles of the back and neck and to drink plenty of water.

Muscles relax with high doses of magnesium and B complex supplements. Warm baths with Epsom salts, which are naturally high in magnesium can also loosen tight muscles in the neck and relieve headaches.

Some new daily persistent headaches resolve themselves over time while others can last for years. There is research that has shown that some people, about 30% of those studied, recovered from the headaches within three months with about the same number remaining free of the headaches after that period. It took two years for 86% of men and 73% of women studied to recover and not have any more headaches.

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