Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Is Painkiller A Headache Poem?


What is the first thing you do when you sense...
Life is short, drink wine and don't be sorry!
And the scent of the sense of presence
Is just soldier of both sides of worry.

Are Your Painkillers Giving You A Headache?

What is the first thing you do when you sense an impending headache? If you are like the majority of Americans, you reach for the closest bottle of over the counter or prescription pain killers and bolt some down automatically. Sometimes you may even be taking a pain killer in advance frequently or even daily, in order to stave off chronic headaches or because you are anticipating a stressful situation ahead.

Did you see yourself in any of those descriptions? Then take a minute and think about your headaches. Is there a pattern? Do they seem to have become more frequent and more intense with time, requiring medication more often than before? If yes, then most likely you are suffering from what are called rebound headaches, which are simply medication overuse headaches.

Coffee drinkers experience something similar. That first shot of coffee heads off the niggling beginnings of a headache. Each day you need that shot of coffee a bit earlier and perhaps then you need another one later in the day, until eventually, passing up that cup of coffee results in a headache. With time, the frequency of the headaches increases and so does your requirement for coffee. And you perpetuate the vicious rebound headache cycle. Although the caffeine is the culprit here, pain killers work the same way.

What happens is this. When you start taking pain killers more often than what the doctor prescribed or the label recommends, your body kind of adapts to the medication. The result is that each successive time you need a higher dose to combat headaches. And as you up the dose, the frequency and intensity of your headaches increases, so much so that headaches become a daily phenomenon. Some headache sufferers even find they wake up with a dull headache that never really goes away.

Most people do not realize that over-the-counter pain killers are meant to give quick relief from occasional headaches. They were never intended for daily routine use against recurring headaches because of the potential for causing rebound headaches. Once the rebound headache cycle has been triggered, the only way to stop it, is to stop taking the drug that triggered it. Period. But, although the task is simple, it is not always easy. Especially in the case of opium drugs, withdrawal must be closely medically supervised, because it is potentially dangerous.

For further rebound headache information, see Total Headache Relief or consult your doctor. Seek medical help if you:

  • have a headache more than 3 times a week
  • are regularly on pain killers
  • your headaches seem to be getting worse despite medication and rest

If rebound headaches are diagnosed, your physician will recommend the best way to stop taking the drug that is causing the problem and supervise if necessary. Your headaches may become worse before they get better because of medication withdrawal symptoms, but if you persist, you can successfully break the rebound cycle.

Rebound headaches are usually accompanied by restlessness and irritability. Rebound headaches can be triggered by any overused pain killer, however, some pain killers are more likely to do so. Common over-the-counter medications that contribute to rebound headaches are aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, more so if they come in combination with caffeine. Rx drug culprits include most migraine medicines, opium-based medications, and those containing butalbital (Esgic, Fioricet, & Fiorinal). Get the details on your pain killer here.

Most importantly, preventing any kind of headache from occurring often is the best solution, so it is worth while to try out most natural headache therapies as prevention is their focus. This requires a conscious effort on your part and can be achieved by identifying and avoiding things that trigger headaches for you. Alternative therapies like meditation and yoga teach you to relax and develop a positive attitude towards life. Also, making small lifestyle changes like getting sufficient sleep, eating meals in time, exercising regularly and quitting smoking can go a long way in preventing nagging headaches.

AUTHOR: Renee Morales.

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3:01 PM  

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