Patient Education

Different Causes of CDH

I tend to use chronic daily headache and migraine interchangeably because my chronic migraines are thought to have transformed into daily headaches. I’m trying to stop doing this, though, because migraine is not the only instigator of CDH. In fact, the International Headache Society has identified 24 different causes for it.

American Family Physician published an article in December 2004 that describes the causes of chronic daily headache in the US and Europe. In 53% of cases, CDH begins from chronic tension-type headaches. Another 31% are chronic migraines that have transformed into daily headaches. In both type, the headaches gradually change from being distinct events to constant. Another common cause with a gradual onset is medication overuse, a.k.a. rebound headaches.

For the majority of those with CDH, one or more of the above classifications will fit. But for others, CDH may be brought on suddenly by head or neck trauma, flu-like illness, surgery, meningitis, or some other medical illness. I don’t know much about this second set of causes and I don’t really know how they are treated. But I expect that we experience very similar things with the different types of CDH.

9 thoughts on “Different Causes of CDH”

  1. Don’t know if this will be seen by anyone, but I found the post by ‘Sigrid’ to be very interesting! I have had CDH for years now and have tried ALL kinds of preventative meds, all kinds of ‘treatments’; accupuncture, massage, chiropractors, triptans, muscle relaxers, anti-depressants…. the list goes on and on. I get the feeling many of you can relate. I currently take at least one triptan a day, alternating between Maxalt and Treximet. They usually will dull the pain, but I live in fear of the day they no longer work.
    So, my interest in Sigrid’s post is that my mom has me seeing a homeopathic dr who showed me a parasite in a drop of my blood, and lots of ‘junk’ that he said was fungus, etc.. that feed on sugar. So, he put me on a VERY restricted candida control diet, and gave me multiple supplements to take, and a colon cleanse. Well, I was on the diet for about ten days when I got a sinus infection and had to start antibiotics. At that time he said stop the diet and the supplements b/c the antibiotics would wipe out the good bacteria the supplements were adding. Then, after the 10 days of meds I tried to restart the diet but have been plagued by bouts of nausea and vomiting and just can’t stomach the supplements any longer. This has gone on for over TWO weeks! I just took a pregnancy test b/c that is what it reminds me of, but it was negative (thank God, because of all the vasoconstrictors I am on)
    So, how long were you on the diet before you had relief from your headaches?? 42 days sounds wonderful, but the rest of my life sounds even better!!! Although, that diet is super tough to stick to long term. But I did feel overall better, more energy, lost about 5 lbs… but I do love my carbs and sweets!
    Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
    Thanks so much,

  2. Kerrie,

    Thanks so much for your great blog. I have a question about TMJ — what is the likelihood of it causing a chronic, incapacitating daily headache? I’ve had TMJ for years but it’s gotten worse lately; however, in order to get a 24 hour a day splint, it would cost me about $2500 and I’m on disability, so I’m not sure that I want to make that investment.

    My headaches started with a car accident 27 years ago. I had a head injury and whiplash and a huge amount of stress from other multiple injuries. Then they morphed into something else. Most of the neurologists say that I have a combination migraine and tension headache BUT in 1986, I went on a **horribly** restrictive diet for Candida and lost all of my headaches for 42 days. So I know there’s a food connection BUT now I have a severe case of hypoglycemia — my blood sugar dropped to 28 mg in the glucose tolerance test within less than 90 minutes — and I’m eating a lot of nuts, cheese, bacon and other potential triggers to keep my sugar fairly stable. When I remove them from my diet, there is literally nothing to eat and my blood sugar dives because I don’t tolerate carbohydrates well. I’m on a very high protein diet with about 60 g of carbs per day.

    My latest neurologist thinks that the headaches are migraine and that I should starve myself to go off the above potentially toxic foods. Haven’t been able to do that yet.

    Which do you think would be a better focus — the TMJ or the migraine food diet? I can’t get my blood sugar stable no matter what because I’m constantly taking stuff for other problems that throws my sugar off (allergy meds, etc.)

    Thanks so much. Really sorry this is so long. Sigrid

  3. I suffered a broken neck injury @ C-1 when i was 18 am 40 now. I did quite well until age 26 arthritis set in. Took Viox until they took it off market, now take Mobic and Nexium because of Mobic effect on stomach. Started getting headaches more frequently age 34 to 39. Managed with Extra Stregnth Tylenol. However, at age 39 November to be exact ruptured disc. between 4 & 5 which caused me to get migraine headaches from Hell! Had to take Relpax 40MG. three times a day and even then had Migraines that got so bad had to go to Emergency Room to get Injections by I.V. to get them under controll. After surgery I am much better but get at least 2 or 3 Migraines a week, have tried other less potent cheaper meds that just don’t work. Relpax and Frova work best. I would like to try Imitrex if it does indead become a generic. Cost me $134.00 for 18 pills a month and have had times I had to fill it before month was out. I sure I fortunate compared to many, I do have descent insurance. Not sure what I would do otherwise. Have tried injections in neck to help cut down on frequency, but I’m not certain that it has helped that much.

  4. i have had the same headach for the last 2 years the intensity of it comes and goes. ive tried several meds and nothing seems to work looking for ideas.

  5. Hi, Jennifer. You are definitely not alone! I’m so glad Relpax works for you. The only triptan that’s on the horizon for a generic is Imitrex, but that’s a ways off and the drug doesn’t work for everyone.


  6. I know this is a little late but I happened to stumble upon this website-it’s comforting to know I’m not alone. If I don’t have a daily headache I’ve all too often taken OTC meds to try to prevent it from becoming a full grown migraine. Relpax has been a godsend for me, I’ve had Migraines since I was around 11 and am now 34. Relpax is the first drug to EVER take the pain away, and although I definitely agree it won’t work for everyone-I know after several different meds myself-I never thouoght I would find anything to take the horrible pain away. Unfortunately at this point there is no generic alternatives for many drugs, at $115 for 6 pills (I usually need about 18 a month!!

  7. Thanks,Kerrie, for starting the daily headache blog. I think it will be very helpful to many. I just wish you could have the success I have had with Amitriptyline. I have a noticeable headache all of the time, but often with a level of around 2 (out of 10). I have been incapacitated only once or twice during the last several years, whereas there was a time when I had to plan things–like going out of town on business trips–on the assumption that I might have a severe one. Thanks again, Jerry

  8. While I dont think I quite have chronic headaches, for me it’s pressure changes associated with monsoons here in arizona. Cold fronts come in and the pressure drops rapidly, and like clockwork I will get a nice quality eye-poking headache. Fortunately mine seem to be treatable with over the counter ‘migraine’ medication that combines acetomeniphine, asprin, and caffeine, coupled with some non-stressful activity like watching tv, or sleeping. The drag is when you’re at work at 2pm and one of these hits, I pretty much have to go home, take my drugs and chill out or I’ll have the headache for a good 8 hours. So far I haven’t found anything to prevent them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *