We all suffer from pain of one sort or another and of course painkillers are the obvious remedy, but prolonged use of painkillers are causing problems to many through rebound head aches.
I am very lucky that I rarely ever suffer from headaches and when I do they are very short lived, but for my sister it is completely a different story.
Like many women she suffers from migraines frequently, and in fact are quite debilitating to the point that she is actually sick with them and very light sensitive which obviously leads to problems with work and normal day to day living.
Most headaches are brought on by tension in the muscles of the neck and scalp especially after periods of stress or concentration, and in today’s hectic lifestyle we really need to give attention to relaxation a high priority, as I really believe chilling out for a short period every day benefits us greatly, along with a good balanced diet to keep everything in harmony, like we always say ‘good food good health’.
I know it is so difficult to make time for yourself and especially when you have a family, time is always at a premium, if only you could buy some when you do your weekly shopping – I wish, but just 20 minutes a day listening to music, lazing in the bath or reading a favourite book or magazine with no interruptions is known to boost the feel good factor by releasing enzymes that help to counteract stress levels.
Headaches can also be a precursor to influenza or a cold, and in women menstruation can also cause them.
Often when suffering frequently from headaches and especially migraines a good look at your diet is useful as a high consumption of caffeine, cheese, chocolate or alcohol are known to aggravate and elevate symptoms.
Painkillers are the first things some people reach for when they wake up so that they can function properly and go about their lives, but these drugs – such as paracetamol, aspirin, ibuprofen and codeine can often be the reason that they suffer from repeated headaches.
Women are 5 times more likely to be affected by migraines, and migraines are one of the most common reasons for taking painkillers. Headaches and migraines are caused by excitability of the brains surface or cortex, and tests with animals have shown that female hormones excite the cortex more making women more vulnerable to suffering from headaches and migraines.
Many people are self-medicating with over the counter drugs and although they are using them as prescribed, are using them over long periods with out consulting their doctors, it is this longevity of medication that seems to be the problem.
Even when people have seen their doctors, a vicious circle can sometimes begin when stronger painkillers are prescribed.
Rebound headaches appear to happen not on overdosing, but when a person becomes resistant to a certain painkiller and resorts to a stronger one, and when this medication wears off they can get withdrawal symptoms – rebound headaches, it actually is the absence of the medication causing the rebound headache and here the circle continues with even more medication being taken to alleviate the ‘rebound’.
Still the exact reason these rebound headaches happen is not clear although over use of painkillers is thought to affect pain message flow to the nerves. It is also likely that some people are genetically predisposed to rebound headaches.
Levels of excitability in the brain are affected by an extended use of medication as drugs cause an effect on brain cells in the way they work, and it is believed that the level of the body’s own natural pain barrier is eroded by constant use of headache tablets.
There are no problems with using painkillers two to three times a week the problem only arises when medication is constantly used, and the only solution to alleviate the rebound headaches is to stop taking the medication and this can take the body six to twelve weeks to recover from, but is generally immediate for people using triptans.
To avoid rebound headaches it is best to take several tablets on the onslaught of the headache or migraine than one or two tablets over seven days. When it strikes take the full dose as indicated on the packaging of an anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen, or a triptan for severe cases but this is generally prescribed medication only.
Medical attention should be attained by anyone suffering headaches on a daily basis to rule out any underlying cause.
Maybe we should look at some of the old methods of killing pain or alternative methods that could help alleviate the problem that causes the tension resulting in the headaches such as massage, osteopathy, reflexology or even acupuncture.
My dear old Nan used to swear by rose hips, a natural painkiller for any kind of pain and also used to use a balm on her forehead, which was very similar to the product ‘4head’ today tramadol 50 mg.
Music is thought to help alleviate pain through stimulating the brain to release endorphins that are the body’s natural painkiller. Different types of music are more effective than others, even if it is not the type of music you would normally listen to.
20 minutes of listening to classical music has long been known for relaxation and sharpening the mind, which could be the difference between taking painkillers or not. There are some excellent mood enhancing CD’s available that include the sound of running water, natural sounds of the forest or whales. Apparently these can be more effective if listened to just before going to sleep.