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"What could cause constant headaches?"


I'm an otherwise healthy woman of 22 years, but I have chronic headaches I can't get rid of. What could be causing them? Is it a sign of a deeper medical issue?


Constant headaches can be a concerning symptom. I would strongly recommend that you see your primary care physician as soon as possible. Chronic headaches can have many different causes.

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A common class of headaches is tension headaches--a class that is caused by pain from the muscles in the head and neck. Migraines is another common cause--they are classically on one side of the head, pounding in nature and often have visual symptoms before the headache. Other common causes include sinus infections, tooth pain or even from headache medicine (like taking to much tylenol or ibuprofen). All of these causes can be treated and symptoms controlled with appropriate medication. Beyond these more common causes of headaches that are relatively benign in nature, chronic headaches can also be caused by more serious medical issues. In general, anything that increases the pressure in the brain can do this. Examples include masses (either cancer or benign growths), abscesses or other infections. Classically, these causes result in headaches that are worse in the morning. Associated visual symptoms or extremity numbness or weakness or tingling can be signs of this serious condition. I would see your doctor. By taking a good history and doing an extensive neurological exam, they can often rule out the more serious causes of headaches as well as treat the benign ones.

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