Modern Migraine MD

Why Do I Have Headaches so Often?

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Why Do I Have Headaches so Often?
Most people experience headaches now and again. But getting frequent headaches is another story—and one that shouldn’t be ignored. Keep reading to learn what might trigger your frequent head pain and how we can help.

Let’s face it—headaches are never fun. But most people get one from time to time. From not getting enough sleep, having too many cocktails, and even exercising too hard, many things can cause occasional headaches. 

But if you’re getting headaches often—15 days or more each month for at least three months—you could have what’s called chronic daily headaches. These headaches differ in the type and intensity, but they’re never normal. 

At Modern Migraine MD in Manhattan, NYC, Toms River, New Jersey, Aventura, Florida, and virtually in 13 states, board-certified neurologist, Risa Ravitz, MD, can assess your head pain and examine you for signs of other conditions, including neurological issues, that might contribute to your headaches.

Please contact our practice to schedule a consultation if you’re experiencing headaches often, and in the meantime, keep reading to learn why you might have frequent head pain.

Understanding headaches and their causes

Most generally, headaches are pains in your head that come in different forms, including throbbing, aching, and stabbing sensations. They can also feel like building pressure that triggers pain. 

Headaches also vary in intensity. For example, some headaches are simply mild nuisances, causing minor discomfort that lasts only minutes. Other times, however, headache pain can be so bad that you’re sidelined from your daily activities for hours—even days. 

In addition to differences in type and intensity of pain, headaches can affect different locations in your head. For example, headaches can cause pain in your temples, forehead, back of your head, and even your neck. Some common types of headaches include:

  • Tension headaches
  • Cluster headaches
  • Chiari headaches
  • Sinus headaches 
  • Migraine headaches

People get different types of headaches because of different causes. Since there are hundreds of reasons your head might hurt, it’s helpful to look at the main categories of headaches and the causes of them:

Primary headaches

Every year, about 3 billion people get primary headaches. This type of headache is so named because instead of being a symptom or sign of another condition, the headache itself is the primary problem. 

Although primary headaches aren’t normally dangerous to your health or cause for serious concern, it doesn’t mean the pain they cause can’t be disabling. It just means that there isn’t another problem to address. 

Primary headaches have many possible causes and triggers. Some of the most common include:

  • Stress
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Certain foods (e.g., processed meats)
  • Lack of sleep
  • Traveling
  • Poor posture
  • Not eating enough
  • Dehydration
  • Nicotine use
  • Exertion (e.g., vigorous exercise; straining)

You can also get a primary headache after laughing or crying hard. 

Secondary headaches

When you get a headache that’s triggered by another health issue, you have a secondary headache. In other words, another health problem causes pain to develop in your head and neck. 

Secondary headaches are more rare than primary headaches, and at the same time they’re also more concerning since they indicate you could have a significant underlying condition that requires attention, including:

  • Neurological issues
  • Nerve disorders
  • Brain tumors
  • Brain or neck injury (e.g., concussion)
  • Hypertension
  • Medication overuse
  • Chronic sinus congestion
  • Infection (e.g., meningitis)
  • Aneurysm

You can also develop secondary headaches from a joint disorder, like TMJ, eye problems, like uncorrected vision, and hormonal imbalances. Because some of these underlying conditions can be life threatening, don’t wait to set up an appointment with a provider for frequent headaches.

Migraine headaches

Migraine headaches may be either primary or secondary headaches. These headaches generally affect one side of your head, though some people experience pain that spreads to both sides or affects their vision and other senses. 

The severity of migraine headaches can differ between people—and from one migraine to the next for the same person. However, migraine pain is most commonly described as intense, severe, or throbbing. It may also trigger nausea, vomiting, light and smell sensitivity, and more.

Migraine headaches can last for a few hours or up to several days. Since they have different causes, be sure to schedule an appointment at Modern Migraine MD to get to the bottom of why you’re getting them.

Treating frequent headaches

Whether or not your headache is triggered by an underlying health condition, frequent headaches still disrupt your life and stop you from engaging in the things you enjoy. 

At Modern Migraine MD, Dr. Ravitz first diagnoses the type of headache you’re experiencing before creating a comprehensive headache treatment plan that addresses any underlying issues causing your pain.

Since each patient and each headache differs, treatments for frequent headaches vary as well. For example, dietary changes could help ease your pain. Or you might need prescription medications or nerve stimulation to stop your headaches.

Get relief from frequent headaches by scheduling an in-person or virtual appointment with Dr. Ravitz at Modern Migraine MD.