Chapter 2, Episode 5: What is New Daily Persistent Headache?


This content has been medically reviewed by Dr. Christopher Rhyne.

New Daily Persistent Headache is a type of chronic headache. It’s name describes the condition:

“New” – The headache begins seemingly out of nowhere. Most people are able to remember exactly when their pain started. 

“Daily” – The pain is there each day without exception.

“Persistent”– Although intensity may vary, the head pain is always there (except when sleeping) and must persist for at least 3 months. It is unclear how long the headaches will persist in all cases, but some studies found that two years is the average time.

“Headache”– The person’s main complaint is head pain that is usually described as mild to severe “tightness” or pressing pain, although it can also be a burning, aching or stabbing pain. The headache may be intermittent or constant and often gets worse with physical activity. 

Some people may experience migraine-type symptoms like nausea and light or sound sensitivity, but the main complaint is the never-ending head pain.

New daily persistent headache is typically diagnosed based on presenting symptoms and by ruling out other potential causes of headache. To rule out other causes, such as a subdural hematoma, cerebral spinal fluid leak, meningitis, or abnormal intracranial pressures a doctor may order MRI imaging, CT scans and in some cases, a lumbar puncture. New Daily Persistent Headache is sometimes misdiagnosed as chronic migraine or medication overuse headache. 

This condition is most commonly brought on by a stressful life event, a virus, a surgical procedure or head trauma. This condition primarily affects females in their 20-30’s but can affect males too. 

Migraine medications are often used to treat New Daily Persistent Headache. Triptans are frequently used for acute treatment. Antidepressants and anticonvulsants are often used as preventative treatments. Other therapies may include nerve blocks, ketamine infusions, steroids and onabotulinumtoxinA. Combination therapy is typically recommended which involves using medications along with complimentary therapies like acupuncture, biofeedback and massage.

Assembling a team of supportive professionals, including headache specialists and therapists may be helpful for managing New Daily Persistent Headache. A therapist can help teach coping skills to manage the emotional and mental aspects of living with chronic pain especially since anxiety and depression are two conditions that are seen more commonly in people with New Daily Persistent Headache. 

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This video is sponsored in part by Amgen.



*The contents of this video are intended for general informational purposes only and does not constitute professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. AMD does not recommend or endorse any treatment, products, or procedures mentioned. Reliance on any information provided by this content is solely at your own risk.