For many people who suffer with chronic headaches or migraines, reaching in the medicine cabinet on a daily basis is almost second nature. But did you know that the more you increase your dosage of painkillers, the more you could potentially make your pain worse? For some, reaching for the tablets every morning is as much as a habit as turning off the alarm clock or popping on the kettle. It becomes the only way chronic pain sufferers believe they can function. But worryingly, the dose that patients take over the years tends to gradually increase. And quite often, the more painkillers people take, the more they need to take.
Almost like an addiction, people who routinely take painkillers may even find themselves waking up during the night to take them! But what people don’t always realise is that the very drugs promising to ease pain are often prolonging it.
It is estimated that around 500,000 women and 100,000 men suffer from daily headaches as a result of the overuse of painkillers. These people are not overdosing on their medication; they are simply taking the pills for long periods of time. The more a painkiller is taken, the more resistant the body becomes and so the sufferer resorts to a stronger type of medication. When the medication wears off, withdrawal reactions (known as ‘rebound’ headaches) can develop, prompting them to take more medication. So it is actually the absence of the medication that is causing the headache.
Although this issue can affect anyone, the problem is thought to be more common among women. This is mainly because women are five times more likely to be affected by migraines than men. Women are also more likely to report their symptoms.
It’s important to remember that although painkillers can be effective in managing your headaches, they shouldn’t be your first port of call!
How a chiropractor may help?
A chiropractor may do one or more of the following if you suffer from a primary headache:
- Perform spinal manipulation or chiropractic adjustments to improve spinal function and reduce the stress on your system.
- Provide nutritional advice, recommending a change in diet and perhaps the addition of B complex vitamins.
- Offer advice on improving posture, ergonomics exercises and relaxation techniques.
This advice may help to relieve the recurring joint irritation and tension in the muscles of the neck and upper back.
Chiropractors undergo years of extensive training to help their patients in many ways beyond treatment for lower back pain. A good chiropractor will understand how tension in the spine relates to problems in other parts of the body, and they can take steps to relieve those problems.