Hemicrania continua also shares features of cluster headaches. For example, people who have it may have problems with how part of their nervous system works. That causes symptoms that happen on the painful side of the face and head, including:
Stuffy or runny nose
Nosebleeds (which are rare)
Tearing, redness, or irritation of the eyes
Some things tend to make symptoms worse, such as:
Changes in sleep patterns
About 10% of people have symptoms when they:
Feel pressure on their neck
Flex or rotate their neck
Doctors can make a diagnosis of hemicrania continua if you’ve had pain consistently, without it switching sides or disappearing even briefly, for at least 3 months.
Some anti-inflammatory medications ease hemicrania continua headaches. Indomethacin, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), often gives fast relief. One way doctors know that you have hemicrania continua is if your headaches go away after a dose of the drug. But some people may need more testing -- such as an MRI -- to look into their symptoms.
Daily doses of indomethacin for hemicrania continua typically range from 25 to 200 milligrams. A common side effect of the drug is irritation of the lining of the stomach and digestive tract. So, people who take it may also need medication to help their stomach make less acid.
If the side effects of indomethacin are too much for you, another NSAID, celecoxib, may also help.