Constant Headache: 7 Causes & How to Relieve

Medical review: Dr. Clarisse Bezerra
Family Doctor
January 2022

A constant headache can occur for many diverse reasons. The most common causes are fatigue, stress, and anxiety. A constant headache that happens in a specific region of the head, like in the frontal region, or on the right or left side is often associated with a migraine. A headache that happens with dizziness can be a sign of high blood pressure or even pregnancy.

A headache can also be related to a health problem, like the flu, vision problems or hormonal changes. Therefore, if your headache is very strong or lasts for over 3 days, you should consult your family doctor for assessment and treatment.

The following is a list of the most common causes of constant headaches:

1. Heat

Excessive heat leads to mild dehydration and stimulates the dilation of blood vessels, including the vessels found in the head. This can lead to a headache.

2. Vision problems

Vision problems like astigmatism, hypermetropia and myopia can all cause headaches, especially in children. Headaches emerge because these conditions often require excessive straining of the eyes.

3. Stress or anxiety

During periods of stress or anxiety, it is often hard to sleep properly due to a hyper-active mind. This can also affect concentration in some situations. A tired mind and body can lead to headaches, which may be a sign that the body is needing rest.

4. Diet

In some people, the consumption of stimulants like coffee, soda and chocolate can result in headaches, On the other hand, some people who do not eat, like during fasting, can also experience headaches as a result of hypoglycemia.

5. Illness

Some health problems, like a cold, sinusitis or headache can also result in constant headaches. These headaches usually disappear when the illness has resolved. 

6. Bruxism

Bruxism is the involuntary clenching or grinding of the teeth at night when sleeping. This can alter the positioning of the jaw joint and result in headaches throughout the day.

7. Hormonal changes

Changes in circulating hormone levels in the blood, especially during PMS or pregnancy, can also lead to headaches.

How alleviate constant headaches

To alleviate a headache that persists all day, you can try lightly massaging the head. In addition to massage, you can also try the following strategies:

  • Apply a cold compress to the head, forehead or back of the neck to encourage constriction of blood vessels in the head
  • Rest in a calm, quiet and shady place
  • Drink a cup of cold water with some drops of lemon juice to rehydrate the body
  • Avoid staying in the sun for more than 1 hour, even if you are wearing a hat and sunglasses
  • Take an analgesic to treat the headache, like acetaminophen
  • Walk barefoot on the ground to relieve anxiety and stress
  • Drink a cinnamon tea to speed up menstruation if your headache is PMS-related

Despite the cause of the headache, the continued use of analgesics for over 3 days is not advised, as it can actually worsen the headache. Learn more about the different types of headaches and how they are treated.

When to see the doctor

You are advised to consult your family doctor or a neurologist if your headache persists for 5 consecutive days. It is important to assess whether other symptoms are occurring with the headache, like vision changes or loss of balance.

The doctor will ask you several questions about your general health status. He or she may order testing to identify the cause the headache or to rule out if it is a migraine. Based on their findings, the doctor will guide the treatment for the headache. Learn about the natural ways you can relieve a headache, as a complement to treatment prescribed by the doctor.

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Atualizado por Tua Saude editing team, em January de 2022. Medical review por Dr. Clarisse Bezerra - Family Doctor, em January de 2022.
Medical review:
Dr. Clarisse Bezerra
Family Doctor
Dr. Bezerra possesses a medical degree and specializes in family medicine. She is licensed to practice under CRM-CE licence #16976.