Chronic Migraine

Also known as: chronic daily headache

What is chronic migraine?

Chronic migraine describes headache which is occurring on 15 or more days per month, of which at least 8 of the headache days have features of migraine, for at least 3 months.

What causes chronic migraine?

It’s unclear why some people are prone to migraines while others are not, but there appears to be a genetic component to the disease. While some patients have less frequent migraines others develop into a chronic pattern.

Medication overuse, obesity, anxiety, depression, sleep problems, other pain disorders, head and neck injury and asthma are all potential risk factors for episodic migraine to transform into chronic migraines.

What are the symptoms of chronic migraine?

As described above, patients will have very frequent headaches, occurring at least half the days of the months. Some headaches may not be as severe, but on at least 8 days per month the headaches meet criteria for migraine.

What are chronic migraine care options?

Similarly to episodic migraine, chronic migraine is treated with a combination of preventive medications, acute medications, lifestyle modifications, and cognitive behavioral therapy. Chronic migraine may however need to be treated more aggressively, and can sometimes be more refractory to treatment.

In some cases, botox injections can be helpful in the treatment of chronic migraine.


Reviewed by: Dr. Suzanne Esther Hagler, MD

This page was last updated on: September 09, 2020 11:28 AM

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