Hemicrania Continua

Symptoms and Treatment for Hemicrania Continua

What is Herminicrania Continua?

Hemicrania continua is a rare form of headache that is more common in women. This chronic and persistent headache is marked by continuous pain on one side of the head with occasional exacerbations of pain. Very rarely, patients experience periods of remission, which may last weeks or months. While there is no cure, this condition can be treated effectively once it is properly diagnosed.

The knowledgeable physicians at the Diamond Headache Clinic, in Chicago, IL, have the necessary expertise and experience to correctly diagnose hemicrania continua.

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What Are the Symptoms of Hemicrania Continua?

The symptoms of this condition are as follows:

  • Headache that lasts for more than 3 months
  • Unilateral (one-sided) pain
  • Pain that is daily and continuous with no pain-free periods
  • Moderately intense pain with exacerbations of severe pain
  • At least one of the following symptoms occurs during exacerbations and on the same side as the headache:
    • Eye redness or tearing
    • Nasal congestion or runny nose
    • Upper eyelid drooping and/or pupil constriction
  • Complete response to therapeutic doses of the NSAID Indomethacin

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How Is Hemicrania Continua Diagnosed?

Your Diamond Headache Clinic doctor conducts a comprehensive exam to obtain an accurate diagnosis. We take a complete medical history that includes your headache symptoms, do a physical examination and order neurological exams to rule out other conditions and diseases. If your doctor suspects that you may be suffering from hemicrania continua, Indomethacin is prescribed. A positive response to this drug confirms that you have this condition.

What Are the Hemicrania Continua Treatment Options?

The most effective treatment is Indomethacin. This prescription NSAID must be taken daily and indefinitely to decrease symptoms. NSAIDS are associated with gastrointestinal side effects, so some patients may need to take acid-suppression medicines simultaneously. Other NSAIDs, though less effective, have fewer side effects and can be prescribed for those who cannot tolerate long-term use of Indomethacin. With proper medical monitoring and daily medication use, patients can attain almost complete relief of their symptoms.

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