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Recurring Headache Causes

When it comes to recurring headache causes the most common is migraine. This does not mean YOUR headaches are migraines, just that they are very common. One of the things to be concerned with is if you have never had any head pain before, then it is time to call your doctor.


See if you have two of the following symptoms for migraine headaches:

  • Throbbing headache lasting 4-72 hours
  • Light bothers you
  • Loud sounds or strong smells like perfume, bother you.

Additionally you probably have one of the following:

  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Loss of appetite during the headache
  • Vertigo (or dizziness)

If so the diagnosis is migraine.

Take the migraine quiz to see how severe your headaches are.

Cluster Headache

Cluster headaches, are a second recurring headache cause and occur mostly in men. They tend to last less than two hours.

Spring and Fall seem to be the most popular times for this and I can predict every year when the clinic will be crowded with my "usuals" coming in with their cluster headaches.

Cervicogenic Headache

Another cause of headache that many are unfamiliar with, is cervicogenic headache. Simply put: it's a pain in the neck. Literally. Many times physical therapy and a short course of medication relieves the problem. This headache is closely related to tension headache.

Analgesic Rebound Headache

Additionally, there is over use of over the counter medications like Tylenol Sinus or Excedrine Migraine. These medications used more than three times a week are one of the definite recurring headache causes. One in particular that I refer to is the Claritin D Sinus Headache. When in pain you will reach for anything to take the headache away.

Over use of Tylenol, ibuprofen and Aleve also cause this problem. The International Headache Society has now reclassified this type of headache into Headache Due to Medication Overuse.

With over use, now the condition is analgesic rebound headache syndrome. At times it is also caused by Fiorcet or butalbital and is called a butalbital headache.

Trigeminal Neuralgia

Although somewhat rare, trigeminal neuralgia can reoccur years after the first bout of neuralgia. What is neuralgia? Just means pain in a nerve. Specifially the nerve which runs along the side of the face and the jaw.

Most of the time this is provoked by a virus or dental work but sometimes the cause is unknown. Read more about trigeminal neuralgia symptoms, and treatment for trigeminal neuralgia.

Atypical Headaches

Additional Recurring Headache Causes


There are many additional recurring headaches. You cannot forget about the food items in our environment now that cause headaches. Ever wonder why you don't feel so well after eating package foods? (You know what I mean...Mac N Cheese, Skillet meals in a box) That's because there are so many preservatives AND flavor enhancers in those boxes. While each individual chemical is tested and approved by the FDA, to date noone has looked at the effects of all of them on the human body.

Many foods contain chemicals to enhance flavor, MSG being the most famous, which provoke headaches. Caffeine overuse is another migraine trigger. I have had many patients tell me their headaches just about disappeared when they knocked off all the caffeine. Here are some common triggers of migraine:


Jaw and tooth problems can also cause additional recurring headaches. These are best managed by a dentist. If you feel you are suffering from TMJ symdrome, a dentist who specialises in this problem is the best person to help you. These conditions can include:

Ear, nose and throat disorders can referr to the head and provoke migraines and headaches. A throrough evaluation for headaches should rule out:

  • Sinus problems
  • Trauma such as perforated eardrum
  • Chronic ear infections
  • Rare tumor of the inner ear: schwannoma

As you can see, when it comes to recurring headache causes that happen over and over it is important to break this cycle of pain. Episodic head pain does not come under this category.

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