New Daily Persistent Headache: My Story

By Iain (Guest Blogger) –

Everyone knows, for the most part, about migraines and how bad the symptoms are, but there are various other types of headaches that are just as debilitating.

One of the lesser known ones even among the medical community is called New Daily Persistent Headaches, or NDPH for short. NDPH is a primary headache disorder which means there is no underlying cause.

NDPH is a daily occuring headache that is not likely to ever go away. The usual course of treatment is to reduce intensity, but sometimes that doesnt even work. Not much is known why.

According to the MHNI, it may be because there are two subtypes. One is self-limited, meaning several months of high severity followed by several months of low severity, and the other is refractory type, meaning that the pain is almost always intense no matter what.

The symptoms of NDPH are similar to that of a migraine. They include nausea, light sensitivity, sound sensitivity and lightheadedness. The main difference between migraine and NDPH aside from its frequent daily occurrence is the location and type of pain, as well as a few neurological factors. It is usually a constant tension or pressure type of feeling across the forehead and temples.

One of the reasons I wanted to write this blog is to shed a light on something I have dealt with for 12 and a half years. It all started with an upper respiratory infection in 2005.

With this upper respiratory infection I had a headache. The infection went away but the headache did not. It still never has.

The doctors couldn’t figure out why it was happening. I never even got an appropriate diagnosis of NDPH until 2010. I have had many procedures and different treatments but the only thing that worked was a multi-disciplinary approach.

So what do I mean by a multi-disciplinary approach? Well for one, it’s not easy.

The patient is just as, if not more, responsible for how they feel as their doctors are. It’s a give and take. Just as with many chronic conditions, medicine only works if you as the patient are doing everything you can such as exercising, eating a healthy diet, and keeping a headache diary which would help indicate things that make it worse or better like food and weather.

Having a psychologist to help with coping mechanisms and discuss feelings of possible anxiety and depression, as well as a psychiatrist to prescribe medications are helpful methods of treatment too. It is mental as much as it is physical.

Take it from me. There is no one way to treat NDPH. It’s taken me 12 and a half years to finally implement everything I have learned from doctors all across the United States. I have personally been to two major medical facilities: the IMATCH program at the Cleveland Clinic and the Michigan Headache and Neurological Institue which also has an in-patient treatment program.

Hopefully this blog post sheds some light on this condition and educate people on the importance of a healthy lifestyle especially when dealing with chronic pain.

My goal is to share my story of personal growth, how living a healthy lifestyle can help make you stronger both mentally and physically, and that with the help of God all things are possible.

You can follow and learn more about Iain on his social media channels where he keeps his own vlog about health and fitness. Find him on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and Twitch.


3 thoughts on “New Daily Persistent Headache: My Story

  1. Natalya says:

    Can you post what has helped you manage the NDPH? My 10-yr old son developed headaches 2 years ago following tonsil and adenoid surgery. The surgery was needed as he suffered from chronic strep infections. Has been on just about every kind of migraine medication out there with no help. The pain is constant, just varies in intensity. Your thoughts would be appreciated, thanks.


  2. John says:

    I’ve had NDPH for almost 8 years now . It’s been very difficult and I haven’t had any success with therapies or treatments that have been provided. I’ve tried almost everything from acupuncture , botox, antidepressants, pain killers ,massage ,and more and now I’m at a point where its making me depressed and wanting to be alone more than social .
    I have been trying to figure out how I’m going to live with this for the rest of my life and that in itself is frightening . The pain is intense , its leaves me with bad brain fog and affects my vision …..My brain almost seems divided , a left & a right at times . Most of my pain is right between my eyes and wraps around my head and down my neck into my shoulders . Doctors have flat out told me there is nothing they can do for me which leaves you feeling helpless .
    Mine started after I took a pill and had a seizure and ended up in Emergency by ambulance. They diagnosed me as just a panic attach and I told them it wasn’t …for 6 weeks after that I could not watch anything visually as everything was racing at a high speed. I was unable to watch TV or drive a car .I stayed in bed with a blanket over my head praying it would stop .I had multiple panic attacks as a result and after 2 months I tried to go back to work which was extremely difficult .Fast forward 8 years and here I am …struggling to cope with it still and preying something anything will just give me a little relief . The heaviness in my forehead is brutal most of the time , people ask why I look so down . I don’t think anyone can understand what this is like other than those with it …. Life is definitely a struggle these days
    My doctor has tried to get me into a headache clinic but those around me are not accepting patients and I’ve been waiting for 4 years ….. I have now gone to a psychologist in an effort to learn to live in this state but to be honest it hasn’t been of any help
    I’m in good shape , a former National Level athlete , and I train most days but it doesn’t give any relief …. I’d be really happy to hear others that have found some type of relief and how you cope with the relentless pain


  3. Jennifer says:

    THANK YOU for posting! My fourteen year old daughter is eighteen months in and has had little relief. Her is the refractory type. I’m saddened to learn you’ve suffered for so long and fear her fate is the same. Began as a virus, her pain came on soon after like a bomb, and never left her. All my best to you onnyour journey. I hope you all find pain free days and years ahead. ♥️


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