Medications overuse “Rebound” A headache
Most of us probably do not know that the medication we usually dash for when a headache strikes can be the main cause of severe and more constant headaches. Rebound headaches are caused by the misuse or overuse of the painkillers and other medication as prescribed. This makes treatment for rebound headaches more difficult owed to the fact that it gets resistant to medication with time. We usually cannot differentiate between the withdrawal symptoms when the wears off and a normal headache which rightfully deserves medication. When the body undergoes this withdrawal reaction, which is normally a headache, we take other medication to ease off the pain not knowing what we are getting into.
This cycle continues until it becomes addictive and hard to control eventually which can have disastrous results. People with a headache related history are more vulnerable to rebound headaches and one needs to be careful before taking any medication. It is always said that prevention is better than treatment and it is, therefore, important to take preventive measures to avoid the headaches.
Causes of Medications Overuse Headaches
- Basically, there are a wide variety of medications that are included in the causes of rebound headaches. One should always be on the guard when using analgesics that contain caffeine, especially when you drink caffeinated drinks every day on top of your meds. Doing so can greatly result in more headaches and even more painful ones.
- As a matter of fact, you should pay a lot of attention to your intake of caffeine for another reason. It could be one of the causes of headaches that you are going through to start with. Drugs that contain compounds such as Isometheptene or Butalbital, opioids and decongestants all are needed to be used with extreme caution since overuse of it can result in the causes of rebound headaches or dependency.
The Rebound Rule
If you often make use of your medications and getting a lot of rebound headaches, there is already a need for you to stop taking those drugs, or if you are too much addicted to caffeine, you need to cut it off. The best way to avoid suffering from the causes of rebound headaches is to comply with the rebound rule and it is so easy to put in mind: 2 on, 5 off. This means that you should take in pain reliever meds for 2 days but do not take it again for the next 5 days. Nevertheless, if you are thinking of totally stop taking your meds ensure that you seek advice from your physician first.
Signs and Symptoms of Medications Overuse headaches
One f the common way of diagnosing rebound headaches is by looking at their frequencies. This is usually dependent on the type of drug that has been used and the dosage. For instance, where opiates have been used, the condition occurs after using the drugs for a period of 8 days in a month. Likewise, for barbiturates, the rebound headaches may occur after using the medication for 5 days in a month. This is due to the body adapting to the medicines. The headaches usually occur on a daily basis and in most cases, in the morning. Though they may improve with the use of pain medications, they will recur after the effect of the drugs begins to wear off. The headaches will persist for the better part of the day and they will be worsened by a mental or physical torture. An onset of the condition may be shown by a need to increase the dose of the drug that you have been using in order to experience relief.
There are other common symptoms of rebound headaches. It is recommended that you consult a healthcare practitioner where one or more of the symptoms occur. These include:
- Pain or stiffness in the neck
- Difficulty in concentration and restlessness
- Loss of memory
- A nose that is stuffy
Treatment for Medications Overuse Headaches
Therapy from specialists is usually the first step in curing the constant headaches. This helps you to slowly withdraw from the medication by recording your headache frequency, intensity and the duration of the headaches making them easier to control.
Rebound headaches can be dyer for those who realize the addiction in the crucial stages. This calls for intense treatment methods such as detoxification by specialists who carefully monitor the process. This can be combined with psychological care to help the patient recover fully from the addiction. This is a form of treatment is however given to those in need of the measure such as patients addicted to a medication containing narcotics or those who combine a variety of pain relievers.
Identifying the habit is not rocket science and it is said that, if you are taking medication to ease or relieve pain more than ten times in a month, then you are advised to seek treatment for rebound headaches from certified specialists. Do not wait until the situation gets worse for you to get help as it will cost you a whole lot more.
Preventing Medications Overuse Headaches
- Knowing how to use medication only when necessary can go a long way in preventing rebound headaches. Limit yourself to a maximum of twice per week and this should not be repeated weekly only in the case of prescribed medication by a doctor.
- Avoid caffeine products and medication containing caffeine while taking painkillers. This is mainly because of its addictive nature which can give birth to a habit.
- Consulting with your doctor before taking any painkillers is important as it guides you on how and when to take the medication.
Getting treatment for rebound headaches in time can save you a lot of time, money and pain and this is because of its nature. It gets worse by the day and until you receive the required treatment, you are in for sleepless nights and long days.
Medications Overuse Headache Treatment Guidelines, Last Update: 18/4/2017