Hemicrania Continua.. How's it Diagnosed..


Hemicrania continua is a migraine, or headache, that continually hurts.

It's pretty rare, and not many doctors, or even headache specialist will even think to make the connection. For some reason, we had never heard a doctor mention that word, until we went to our last headache specialist. Odd isn't it, after 15 years. There's a simple migraine treatment to give to see if you respond to it.

My wife has been to headache specialists, and pain management doctors, and gave them her migraine symptoms, and all have told her she suffers from chronic daily migraines, or chronic daily headaches with migraines to.

Although she gave them her symptoms such as drooping eye, runny nose, and so forth. But no preventives helped, and each doctor treated her with basically the same migraine treatment.

The last headache specialist she went to, within a half hour had her never ending pain narrowed down to hemicrania continua, chronic migraines(which she has been treated for), or occipital neuralgia, which is a common cause of headache.

Many headache sufferers, suffer from chronic daily headaches or migraines, and should have highly respected headache specialists to diagnose these types of headaches and administer the appropriate treatment.

There's not much said about these two possibilities of chronic daily headaches because the most common reason hands down is the overuse of pain medicine, and most doctors think this may be the reason for these headaches.

If using pain medicine on a daily bases daily headaches may start, (rebounds). By taking preventive medicine or taking a natural relief approach the head may feel better.

Headache Pain

This last, and best by far headache specialist addressed our questions like this.

Migraines are normal for many people, believe it or not. But when one suffers from pain all of the time, that's not normal, and needs to be corrected. In other words trace down the cause, and treat it, and that can be time consuming.

How does one know if hemicrania continua is to blame for those daily headaches, or migraines?

Symptoms of hemicrania continua are:

  • Pain is on one side of the head with no pain free time. It hurts continually. 
  • The pain will be moderate, and at other times severe.
  • Eyelid droops, or constricts. 
  • Nose is congested or is runny on the side of the head that is affected. 
  • Eye is red, or one may have to wipe the tears away. 

Think hemicrania continua. This is a rare type of chronic daily headache, but can be successfully treated.

How's this form of headache treated?

Although the cause is not known, the treatment when the symptoms above are present, "which is considered a diagnostic test" is with:

  • Indomethacin. It's a a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. (Triptans, and other abortive medications will not have any affect on hemicrania continua).

Side effects of Indomethacin.

This is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug. My wife's doctor said that it's only prescribed for gout, and hemicrania continua now days. It's also inexpensive. This medicine is tough on the stomach, so be careful while taking it. The dosage is:

  • Between 50, and 200 mg a day.

The bottom line is, headache specialists have so many diagnosis to make, this one skips their mind, or they just don't think to start with this simple test and eliminate it first because there are so many causes of migraines.

Bottom line is, a small percent of headache sufferers suffer with this type of headache, and are unsuccessfully treated. Headache sufferers may be having chronic headaches, and are suffering needlessly because of having a wrong diagnose.

A couple of sites that have more information on hemicrania continua.

Below is a frustrated person on this subject.

I cannot believe that after all my research on the internet, and my various appointments with the ‘best neurologists in the UK’ I hadn’t even heard of this. How is it possible that no one has spoken to me about it? What are all these headache specialists doing with their time?

The symptoms described above could not be any more similar to mine. When trying to explain what my headache boils down to, I always highlight the fact that it is a constant 24/7 headache which has not left me once in seven months and which varies in intensity, according to its whim (to which I am usually asked: so do you have it now?

At which point I wonder which part they didn't understand: 24/7 or constant?). This is so far the most frustrating, and the most recurring question I have been asked.

On top of the persistent right hand side headache, I sometimes feel jolts on top of the constant pain. I may not have hemicrania continua as far as I know. I just read about it and have yet to see someone who deals with this condition (my only doubt is that I do not think I have any of the following, which is a required autonomic feature during exacerbations: conjunctival injection and/or lacrimation, nasal congestion and/or rhinorrhea, or ptosis and/or meiosis).

But what is most worrying is that no one even mentioned to me the possibility of having it. I stumbled across a study conducted in Italy on hemicrania continua which found that innumerable patients with the condition have been misdiagnosed}:

If you have these hemicrania continua symptoms, mention this to the doctor, and get the right treatment. This may not be what's causing the pain, but there're some sufferers that are needlessly suffering because their doctors don't have enough expertise to even know about this headache. Our next page addresses another cause for a 24/7 headache called occipital neuralgia. Home page from hemicrania continua.

Thanks for reading.

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For our Migrane sufferers that may want to seek additional help other than information, there's many products to choose from on Amazon to relieve that headache. You'll be surprised as to how many products are designed for headache relief, from medicine to pillows and so forth. 

Look at the products below and read the reviews. They are all sold on Amazon for  

Even pillows for migraines help tremendously when the pain originates from the neck area. Herbs and Vitamins such as the ones mentioned above are helpful for some sufferers. Most are very inexpensive, and you may find something that will work for your type of headache. All can be found by searching Amazons many headache products. 

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