Hemicrania Continua Headaches

What are Hemicrania Continua Headaches?

Hemicrania continua headaches are a headache that causes constant pain on one side of your head or your face. It is a rare condition, but for people who suffer from it, the constant pain can be really debilitating.

Though the exact cause of hemicrania continua headaches is not known, there are treatment options available. Luckily, with treatment, the pain and discomfort of hemicrania continua headaches can often be relieved.

Symptoms of Hemicrania Continua Headaches

If you have a headache that causes uninterrupted pain on one side, you may have hemicrania continua headaches. Hemicrania continua headaches have specific symptoms that may include:

  • A constant dull pain of one side of your head
  • The dull pain changes to a sharp, jolting or stabbing pain several times a day
  • Teary, red or irritated eyes
  • Runny nose or stuffy nose
  • Droopy eyelids
  • Sweaty forehead

Other possible symptoms of these headaches are similar to the symptoms that people experience with migraines, such feeling sensitive to light or sound. You may get nauseous or vomit due to the headaches.

For some people, the symptoms may occur as they rotate or put pressure on their necks. There are also factors that may make your hemicrania continua headache symptoms increase, such as:

  • Feeling stress or fatigue
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Bright light
  • Sleep changes
  • Overexerting yourself during exercise

Women tend to experience hemicrania continua headaches more often than men. Usually, the symptoms begin in adulthood, though they could begin in childhood as well.

Living with Hemicrania Continua Headaches

Being in constant pain can be a real burden. When experiencing relentless pain, you may have a hard time doing everyday activities like going to work or taking care of your family. Activities such as driving or using a computer can be difficult if you are experiencing sensitivity to light that makes your headache feel worse.   

Since the headaches tend to get sharp and more intense multiple times a day, the pain can be a real intrusion on your day. Treatment can help you feel better and get back to your daily routine without the constant discomfort of these headaches.

How to Treat Hemicrania Continua Headaches

If you have experienced a headache that causes you constant pain for several months, head to a doctor to see if you may have hemicrania continua. Keep in mind that the pain of hemicrania continua headaches stays on one side of your head without switching.

If you are diagnosed with hemicrania continua headaches, treatment can help relieve your symptoms so you can find relief.  Indomethacin is a treatment option that can offer quick relief from the headache pain. This medication can sometimes cause stomach discomfort, so talk to your doctor to see if you may need additional medicine to help with any stomach issues.

There are other medications that may help with hemicrania continua headaches, like celecoxib or even antidepressant medications.
If your headaches do not improve after taking indomethacin, your doctor may do an MRI to see if your headaches are caused by another condition.

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