Epstein-Barr Virus

There is a theory and some preliminary research that an Epstein-Barr virus infection may be in some way related to chronic daily headache unresponsive to normal treatment regimes.

Epstein-Barr virus is related to the viruses that cause illness such as herpes genital infections and cold sores. However, the Epstein-Barr virus is most commonly known for causing the disease infectious mononucleosis, which plagues most teenagers at some time during these years. Typically, Epstein-Barr virus infection is characterized by fatigue, persistent and recurrent fevers, muscle aches and pains, swollen glands, joint aches and pains, depression, and headache.

The headache tends to be a chronic headache, persistent most every day, and typically it could be characterized as a type of chronic tension-type headache, the pain being an aching type and not associated with other symptoms which would be typical of headaches like migraine such as nausea and vomiting.

Unfortunately, there are no antibiotics or other treatments that will eradicate the virus and thereby eliminate the infection. Medications that may help to relieve the symptoms of the headache (such as anti-inflammatory medications) are often used with successful outcomes for many patients. Other medications used for treatment of chronic headache such as tricyclic or serotonin selective antidepressants, may also be useful in this condition. Over time, symptoms usually resolve on their own.

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