Everyone gets headaches, right? Stress, lack of sleep or caffeine, excess alcohol and hormones can make people temporarily miserable with an occasional episodic headache. But what about those who live at the mercy of the next incapacitating headache while trying to manage a family, career and relationship? Recurring headaches are not normal, and they indicate that something is seriously disrupted in the body.
Whether a headache is a migraine, tension, cluster, allergic, sinus or cervico-genic, it’s something that needs to be dealt with. The No.1 common headache relief misconception is that over-the-counter medications treat the cause of your chronic headache. Aspirin, acetaminophen, naproxen and ibuprofen may provide temporary relief or lessen the intensity of your headache, but they are only treating the symptoms of a headache after it has begun.
These drugs cover up your headache by disabling your brain’s ability to feel pain while the underlying cause goes unaddressed. If these drugs actually treated the cause of headaches, then maybe there wouldn’t still be 1 in every 6 Americans suffering with chronic headaches. Even more disheartening is that many over-the-counter medications, when used over a prolonged period of time or at higher than recommended dosages, can actually cause secondary headaches called medication overuse headaches. This is when headaches end up occurring more than 15 times a month or worsen because of too much drug use.
A study in Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain 2006 confirms that when medications that are being overused—and are leading to medication overuse headaches—are discontinued, there is significant improvement in headache frequency and transformed migraine reverts back to episodic migraine without chronic daily headache.
You can certainly take pain medicines that will block pain messages from reaching your brain, but it is important to realize there are many reasons why you may be suffering with chronic headaches. A headache specialist can help locate the true origins of your headaches and recommend the appropriate course of action.
Well-Beings Pain Relief & Peak Performance Center
4296 Memorial Drive, Suite B
Decatur, GA 30032