People get headaches every day and they can be very uncomfortable. The most common headache type is tension headache and it usually lasts for about 4 hours. For some people, however, the headache hangs on for days at a time. These long-lasting headaches can lead you to become very anxious. When you have these kinds of headaches, it is important to know what to do when your headache persists for s very long time.
Possible Reasons Why Your Headache Won’t Go Away
Headaches that last more than one day are usually migraine headaches.
Migraine headaches are often throbbing that are moderate to severe in intensity. They can be located on single side of the head or both sides. Many are located about the eyes or in the area of the temple or forehead. Migraines are more common among women and usually happen in people who have a positive family history of migraine headaches. The migraines usually come on when you are between the ages of 10-25 years.
Migraines are associated with loss of appetite, light sensitivity, noise sensitivity, and nausea or vomiting. They often happen about 1-4 times a month and improve during sleep.
2. Tension Headaches
When your headache won’t go away, it might be a tension headache. These come on most commonly when you are in middle age. It can feel like a squeezing sensation around your head. The feeling of pressure on the head can be minimal or very intense. You can get these kinds of headaches every day. Fortunately, they only last a few hours and only last for a few days before they resolve.
3. Cluster Headaches
Cluster headaches are more common in men and have been found to be related to smoking and alcohol use. When a cluster headache won’t go away, the most common symptom is a pain that is located around one of the eyes, which can be tear-filled and bloodshot. Cluster headaches usually resolve after about an hour but come back many times in a given day.
4. Sinus Headaches
You can get inflamed sinuses from allergies, resulting in situations when a sinus headache persists for a long time. The pain may occur over the cheeks, where the maxillary sinuses are located, or it can be across the bridge of the nose or on your forehead area.
5. Hormone Headaches
When a hormone headache won’t go away, it is usually from changes in bodily hormones during pregnancy, menstruation or menopause. If you get hormonally-related headaches, you might need to have the levels of your hormones tested. Some of the hormones can be lacking and can be replaced using natural hormone replacement therapy.
6. Rebound Headaches
Rebound headaches happen when you use over the counter or prescription medications. If you use these medications for more than a couple of days a week, they can trigger withdrawal symptoms that feel like withdrawal from caffeine. You can take turmeric extract, feverfew, or magnesium instead, which won’t result in rebound headaches.
What Can You Do to Treat It?
The type of treatment you use when a headache won’t go away depends on the type of headache you have. There are some great techniques that you can use over the long term or short term that can stop the pain before it gets out of control.
1. Have a Good Rest
When your headache strikes, lie down on a bed or couch for half an hour. Shut the lights off, close the blinds and pay attention to your breathing. This is a sensory reduction technique that can help relaxation and healing. Make sure you ask for people to be quiet around you. Tell them you are having a headache and can’t be disturbed. Try to take a quick nap in a bed or couch that is easy to lie on and that supports your neck.
2. Compress with Cool Things
When the headache won’t go away, it is a good idea to put a cold compress over your eyes and forehead. This can cause blood vessel constriction and will lessen the inflammation that causes your headache to occur. Just lay a damp cloth over the area that hurts and let it cool the area. Another technique is to put a damp washcloth inside a plastic bag and freeze it for a half hour. Put this compress on your head for icy comfort.
3. Do a Face and Scalp Massage
If you are suffering from a tension headache, you should massage your face and scalp in order to relax the muscles beneath the skin. Use a firm type of pressure and rotate your fingers in circular motions from the temple area to the middle of your forehead. You can also massage the bridge of the nose for headaches related to migraines or sinus headaches.
4. Take Some Herbs
There are herbal remedies that are good when a headache won’t go away. Some common herbal remedies for headaches include butterbur, ginger, coriander, feverfew, willow bark, and tea made from rosemary, passionflower, or lavender. Chamomile tea or peppermint tea can also be effective in relaxing a headache.
When Should You Go to Hospital?
When you have pain, your body may be telling you that you are suffering from an illness or injury. While headaches from tension or migraines rarely are serious, a headache might, on occasion, reveal the presence of a significant medical condition like an aneurysm or tumor. Headaches that are serious often have the following symptoms:
- The headache is linked to neurological symptoms like dizziness, weakness, loss of balance, speech problems, seizures, personality changes, confusion, or visual disturbances.
- The headache is sudden or very severe.
- You have a headache that wakes you up during the night.
- You have a headache associated with shortness of breath, a stiff neck, a rash, or a fever.
- You have a headache following an accident or injury to your head.
- The headache is associated with significant vomiting or nausea.