What is Rebound Headaches?
When most people have a headache, they take an over the counter pain medication or a prescription medication like opiates. This medication helps eliminate a headache. With the use of the painkillers, they can quickly get back to their busy lives. If the painkiller is taken regularly over a long period of time, then the body becomes dependent on that painkiller. The body then gives off withdrawal symptoms, which includes headaches. Rebound headaches are also called medication overuse headaches, which is a more descriptive definition of their cause. No matter what you call them, they are treatable.
What Rebound Headaches Feel Like
If you’ve ever had one of these headaches, then you know what rebound headaches are and how painful they can be. These headaches often occur in the morning or soon after you wake up from sleep. They tend to get worse the more active you become. A headache goes away soon after a painkiller is taken. Although the main symptom is a bad headache, medication overuse headaches are often accompanied by other symptoms such as:
- Nausea with or without vomiting.
- Neck pain.
- Stuffy nose.
- Sudden feelings of depression or anxiety.
- Memory problems when normally you have a good memory
Who Is Most Prone to Rebound Headaches?
People who are prone to rebound headaches already have a chronic headache condition like:
- Migraines with and without auras
- Chronic daily headache
- Tension-type headaches
- Sinus headaches
- Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)
Over time, patients with chronic pain learn that certain painkillers are reliable for taking care of headaches or migraines. Most people do not enjoy being in pain and cannot help but reach for painkillers when they are suffering. They may be more than one type of painkiller. What rebound headaches are not is an indication of a weak will or character problem. It is common for anyone suffering from a chronic pain condition to develop rebound headaches.
Diagnosing Rebound Headaches
But determining what are rebound headaches and what are primary headaches (or the pain that made you reach for the painkiller in the first place.) There is no one single diagnostic test to see if you are suffering from rebound headaches. The best thing anyone with a chronic pain condition like migraines can do is to keep a pain journal. This helps keep track of how often painful episodes occur. Show this journal to your doctor or neurologist. Warning signs of rebound headaches include:
1- Getting more painful episodes than ever before
2- Getting more painful episodes after a few weeks of having only a few episodes
3- Getting headache after a 24 hour period without taking any painkiller
Caffeine is thought to play a part in why some people taking painkillers develop rebound headaches while others do not. Caffeine is addictive. When the body wants more caffeine, it will give off painful withdrawal symptoms which can include headaches and migraines. Many people take painkillers with a caffeinated drink or take painkillers that include caffeine. By keeping track of caffeine consumption, you will soon learn what are rebound headaches and what are regular headaches.
How To Stop Rebound Headaches
When a headache strikes, it is common practice for many individuals to head to the pharmacy or medicine cabinet to get pain medication. While this is generally recommended, some individuals end up overdoing it, this might result in a rebound headache. A rebound headache can be described as a medical condition brought about by the overuse or misuse of pain-relieving drugs, particularly drugs containing caffeine. In most instances, when the pain medication starts wearing off, most individuals tend to experience withdrawal reactions prompting them to take more pain medication so as to alleviate the pain. This usually brings about another headache and if the cycle continues, one might start to get more rebound headaches that are chronic in nature. The following overview on how to stop rebound headaches might help you avert such a scenario.
Reduce the intake of pain medication
As mentioned earlier, rebound headaches are brought about by the improper use of pain medication. Most individuals suffering from this condition are most probably taking some pain medication pills every single day in a bid to reduce the frequency of headaches. By reducing or completely eliminating the use of this type of medications, the frequency of rebound headaches gradually reduces and levels off within a few days. However, a controlled withdrawal from pain medication is usually recommended since sudden withdrawal might put the body into shock bringing about adverse side effects. Some of the side effects associated with sudden withdrawal include migraines, anxiety, excessive sweating and even sore muscles.
Go for low-risk painkillers
This is considered as one of the best options for individuals looking for ways on how to stop rebound headaches. There are a group of painkillers considered as being high risk since they are addictive and have a high affinity for causing rebound headaches. By taking these drugs, an individual is at a higher risk of getting addicted to them and by doing so, starts developing rebound headaches. It is usually advisable to give a wide berth to drugs under this category and go for drugs that are considered as low-risk when it comes to rebound headaches. By consulting a doctor, you will be able to get a list of some low-risk pain relievers best suited for you. The following is a list of pain relievers that are considered as being high-risk in nature
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Aleve
- Caffeine-rich pain-killers such as Bayer and Anacin
There is a host of alternative treatment routines that can act as a substitute for drugs that cause rebound headaches. Applying a cold pack to the forehead is one of the most effective techniques since the cold pack numbs the nerves and by doing so, reduces the intensity of the headaches. Massaging your temples helps to can also work as it helps to release tension and relaxes muscles.
By following the above techniques on how to stop rebound headaches, you are assured of effectively getting rid of rebound headaches in no time at all. It is however recommended that you consult a doctor when a headache persists since it can be a sign of an underlying medical condition.
What Do Rebound Headaches Feel Like, Last Update: 17/4/2017