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What’s Happening When a Headache Won’t Go Away

Everyone experiences a headache from time to time. It is even possible to have a headache that lasts longer than a day. There are numerous reasons why a headache can last a while, from hormonal changes to more serious underlying problems.

While it can be jarring for a headache to last a long time, the good news is most headaches aren’t life threatening. But it’s no fun when a lingering headache affects your ability to do the things you enjoy.

Here’s a look what can cause these headaches and how you can get relief.

When to Seek Medical Attention

It is possible that you could have a more serious underlying condition that needs emergency care if you have been experiencing the exact same headache for more than 24-hour. Seek medical attention right away if you’re experiencing:

  • A severe headache that started abruptly (in just a few seconds)
  • A migraine that has lasted several days, or even weeks
  • Any new symptoms you have not previously experienced along with the headache (disorientation, loss of vision or vision changes, fatigue, or fever)
  • Kidney, heart, or liver disease using a headache
  • A continuing or severe headache in pregnancy, which could indicate complications
  • HIV or another immune system disorder along with a headache

What Causes a Headache That Won’t Go Away?

There are multiple conditions that could cause. Some of those include:

Rebound headaches

Regularly taking over-the-counter (OTC) pain medication for your headaches can actually cause your head to hurt between doses. While this sort of headache doesn’t hang around, it may recur over the course of a day or longer.


Migraines are a severe type of headache that can last for days, or even weeks, at a time. They start with a feeling of illness that takes hold a couple of days before the headache begins. Some people today experience aura, or flashing vision changes before pain sets in.

Then, there’s the headache itself with these symptoms:

  • Throbbing pain on either side (or both sides) of your head
  • pain behind your eyes
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • Sound and light sensitivity
  • Sensitivity to fragrances and scents

Headaches associated with stress or mood disorders

Mood disorders, and anxiety, anxiety can trigger headaches that linger for more than a day. Those with panic disorder or generalized anxiety disorder often experience headaches than those without.

Concussions and head injuries

While post-concussion syndrome does not have a specific treatment regimen, your doctor will work with you to address your specific symptoms. You can also take comfort measures at home to reduce your pain, like resting and limiting stimuli when you’re hurting.

Your doctor might advise you to take OTC medication for mild pain, or they may prescribe stronger pain management medication for headaches.

However, remember that overuse of pain medication can contribute to rebound headaches. So discuss with your doctor if you feel you’re taking too much.

Preventing Long-Lasting Headaches

You may have the ability to prevent persistent headaches by taking a few steps every day before they begin. These include:

  1. Drinking a lot of water to prevent dehydration
  2. exercising regularly
  3. avoiding environmental triggers
  4. Getting needed support for your mental health
  5. Seeking hormonal support, particularly if you’re premenopausal or experiencing menopause
  6. reducing stress


Headaches that won’t go away are worrisome, but they usually aren’t serious. It’s important to discuss your symptoms with your doctor.

With the appropriate diagnosis and the right approach to treatment, you can get relief for your persistent headache and return to your normal quality of life.

About Pasadena Pain Management

Pasadena Pain Management offers sleep apnea and pain management treatment for TMJ/TMD, migraine, headaches and neck pain in Pasadena, CA. Our office is conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At Pasadena Pain Management, we offer the exclusive TruDenta treatment therapy — a highly specialized form of care that involves cutting-edge dental technology, without needles or injections. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable pain management care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping our patients happy and pain free.