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Constant headache: 10 causes (and what to do)


A constant headache can be caused by excessive heat, stress or anxiety, but it can also indicate more serious problems such as sinusitis, migraines or brain tumors.

Normally, in addition to the constant headache, other symptoms may also occur, such as difficulty seeing, excessive worry, nausea, vomiting or fever, which depend on the cause of the pain. These symptoms help the doctor reach a diagnosis.

In case of constant headache, especially when the pain is frequent or associated with other symptoms, it is important to consult a general practitioner or neurologist to identify the cause and initiate the most appropriate treatment, which may involve simple measures such as drinking more fluids, using of painkillers or surgery, in the most serious cases

What could be your headache

To find out what may be causing your headache, please answer the following questions:

This test is only a tool that serves as a means of guidance and, therefore, should not replace consultation with a general practitioner.

10 causes of constant headache

The main causes of constant headache are:

1. Heat

Excessive heat can cause mild dehydration and dilation of blood vessels, including those in the head, resulting in a headache. Other symptoms such as weakness, dizziness and a feeling of empty head may also occur.

What to do: In case of a headache caused by heat, it is important to find a cool, ventilated place. Furthermore, it is recommended to avoid exertion and drink enough fluids to replace body fluids lost in the heat.

2. Vision problems

Vision problems such as astigmatism, hyperopia and myopia, for example, can cause constant headaches, especially in children, because they force the person to strain their vision to see. Learn about other causes of headaches in children.

What to do: If you suspect vision problems, it is important to consult an ophthalmologist so that an assessment can be carried out and the need to wear glasses or corrective lenses can be verified, which helps to alleviate and prevent headaches.

3. Stress or anxiety

In case of stress or anxiety, the person may not be able to sleep well and their mind is always active, making it more difficult to concentrate and excessively tired throughout the day. A tired body and mind encourage headaches, which can be interpreted as the body’s attempt to relax.

What to do: In case of stress or anxiety, it is recommended to seek relaxation options, such as aromatherapy, yoga and physical activity, for example. Furthermore, undergoing psychotherapy can also help control anxiety in some cases. The headache tends to improve as the body relaxes. Discover more relaxation options.

4. Food

In some people, the consumption of stimulating foods such as coffee, soft drinks and chocolate, for example, can result in a headache. Furthermore, going too long without eating can also cause constant headaches due to hypoglycemia.

What to do: If the headache is caused by foods such as coffee or chocolate, it is recommended to avoid excessive consumption of these foods. Furthermore, it is important to maintain a balanced diet to avoid hypoglycemia.

5. Bruxism

Bruxism is the involuntary act of clenching or scraping your teeth at night, which can change the positioning of the jaw joint and cause constant headaches. Understand better what bruxism is.

What to do: Headache caused by bruxism can be relieved with the use of painkillers such as dipyrone or paracetamol. However, it is recommended to see a general practitioner or dentist so that the cause of bruxism can be identified and treatment can be started, which is normally done with the use of dental plates for bruxism.

6. Menstrual period

Hormonal changes in the body due to the menstrual period can cause a constant headache for as long as it lasts, which is called menstrual migraine. Additionally, headaches tend to affect only one side of the head and cause symptoms such as nausea or vomiting in some women. See how to identify menstrual migraines.

What to do: If the headache always occurs during the menstrual period, it is recommended to consult a neurologist or gynecologist for an evaluation. Treatment generally involves the use of analgesic medications and adjusting the dose of contraceptives, if used.

7. COVID-19

COVID-19 can also cause a constant headache, as well as cough, fever and loss of smell, in some cases. Sometimes, the headache may persist even after the infection improves, which may indicate post-COVID syndrome. See how to identify post-COVID syndrome.

What to do: In case of COVID-19 or post-COVID syndrome, it is recommended to consult a general practitioner so that the diagnosis can be made and the most appropriate treatment can be indicated. In general, the use of analgesic medications may be recommended to alleviate symptoms. However, in more serious cases of COVID-19, it may be necessary for the person to remain in the hospital, and the use of specific medications appropriate to the case may be indicated. Find out how COVID-19 is treated.

8. Sinusitis

A constant headache may be caused by sinusitis and cause a feeling of pressure or tightness in the forehead. In addition, other symptoms such as fever, phlegm in the throat and cough, for example, may also occur. See how to identify the symptoms of sinusitis.

What to do: If you suspect sinusitis, it is important to consult a general practitioner or otorhinolaryngologist so that an assessment can be carried out and treatment can be started, which normally involves the use of antibiotics and measures to help make secretions more fluid and facilitate their elimination.

9. Migraine

A constant headache can be caused by a migraine, in which case it is usually throbbing and affects only one side of the head. In addition, other symptoms may occur such as nausea, vomiting, discomfort in bright or noisy environments. Understand better what migraine is.

What to do: In this case, it is recommended to drink plenty of fluids and avoid fasting. Furthermore, it is important to consult a neurologist to confirm the diagnosis and initiate appropriate treatment, which also involves the use of medications such as analgesics and anticonvulsants.

10. Tumor cerebral

The presence of a brain tumor can also cause constant headache in some cases. In addition, symptoms such as seizures, weakness in parts of the body, nausea, vomiting and episodes of transient vision loss may occur. See other symptoms of brain tumors.

Typically, the pain tends to be worse in the morning, when lying down, coughing or making intense efforts, such as when carrying weights.

What to do: If a brain tumor is suspected, it is recommended to consult a general practitioner or neurologist for an evaluation, and tests such as computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging may be indicated to confirm the diagnosis. The headache tends to improve with treatment of the tumor, which may involve measures such as surgery and chemotherapy.

How to relieve a constant headache

To relieve a constant headache, you may be recommended:

  • Massage the region of the head in which the pain occurs;
  • Place a cold compress on your headon the forehead or back of the neck, as the constriction of cerebral blood vessels relieves headache;
  • Stay in a calm and peaceful placeprotected from light to get some rest;
  • Drink a glass of fresh water with lemon drops to rehydrate the body;
  • Avoid staying in the sun for more than 1 houreven with a hat and sunglasses;
  • Taking a painkiller for a headachesuch as Paracetamol, for example;
  • Walking barefoot on the grassfor example, to reduce anxiety and stress;
  • Drink cinnamon tea to speed up menstruation if the cause of the headache is caused by PMS.

Whatever the cause of the headache, using painkillers for more than 3 days is not recommended, as it may worsen the headache. Discover other home remedies for headaches.