Saturday, 22 August 2009

Day 244 - Headache Types

Photograph: Nick Veasy/Getty Images
“We all know what it's like to have a headache. They can turn the best of occasions into a form of torture. Four out of five people get tension headaches. One in seven experience migraines. Headaches cost the economy around £1.5bn a year through lost work days.

Trouble is, while some causes of headaches are obvious – such as when you've had too many glasses of wine the night before – others are more tricky to call. And how can you tell what's serious and what isn't? A good starting point is knowing what type of headache you have.”*


As I write this post, I feel like my head is going to split. This morning I came across the Organization for the Understanding of Cluster Headache (OUCH), who I contacted for more information on hemicrania continua and New Daily Persistent Headache (NDPH). It was the first time I have spoken to someone who has heard about these conditions.

The above extract was taken from an article in the Guardian that I recently read. Headaches, therefore, seem to be the most ‘popular’ form of pain, despite the fact that so little is known about them. Vast amounts of research continue to be conducted in this field, but little remains known as to the causes, and indeed how best to cure, these headaches.

What I find curious is that almost all webpages (including that of this article) that talk about headaches categorize these into tension headaches, cluster headaches and migraines. They do not mention any other forms of headache, despite telling us that ‘a good starting point is knowing what type of headache you have’. How can we, if no one tells us about the other types of headache? Some would argue that these conditions are subdivisions of cluster, tension and migraine headaches, but little - if anything, even under the subdivision of these headaches - is mentioned about the lesser known types of headaches such as hemicrania continua and NDPH.

It surely is no coincidence I didn’t come across hemicrania continua or NDPH, because I have spent hours on the internet reading and researching about different types of headache, and indeed even speaking to neurologists about them, both of whom failed to even mention the two conditions!

Although there is not much known about hemicrania continua and NDPH, why are these hardly ever mentioned, in particular on some neurologists’ webpages and in other comprehensive medical journals? Is it because science is nearly embarrassed, should we say, by the little that is known about these two conditions? Would it not help if scientists, and indeed the media, gave them more coverage so that more people can learn about these, thus possibly be diagnosed with them which would, in its turn, enable more studies to be conducted on these conditions?


  1. I have added your blog to my bloglist at Let me know if you want me to take it off!
    I also belong to a hemicrania continua group on Yahoo - there aren't too many of us there, but if you want to check it out it is in groups on name of group hemicrania_continua.

  2. thanks, very kind of you, i have had a look at yours - it seems very interesting and it's refreshing to know there are other people out there with similar symtoms! thanks also for the yahoo group, will check it out.

  3. Sorry you are having this headache - I do like your blog - especially the countdown or is it countup of the number of days!!!! I have a link on mine to yours now. Thank you for letting me add it to my list!

  4. PS I don't think there is enough of us to make money for pharmaceutical companies so our problem doesn't get a lot of funding. sigh..