Up to a million people in the UK have completely preventable severe Headaches caused by taking too many painkillers, doctors have said.
They said some were trapped in a “vicious cycle” of taking pain relief, which then caused even more headaches.
The warning came as part of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence’s (NICE) first guidelines for treating headaches.
NICE is also recommending Acupuncture in some circumstances.
This can end up getting into a vicious cycle where your headache gets worse, so you take more painkillers, so your headache gets worse and this just becomes worse and worse and worse”
“Medication overuse headaches” feel the same as other common headaches or migraines.
There is no definitive UK data on the incidence of the condition, but studies in other countries suggest 1-2% of people are affected, while the World Health Organisation says figures closer to 5% have been reported.
While painkillers would be many people’s instant response, they could be making sufferers feel even worse. Continue reading Medication overuse Headaches
IF YOU have ever absent-mindedly rubbed your eyes or nose after chopping up chilli peppers, you’ll have some idea of the suffering of one group of scientists in the name of medical research. A team at the Institute of Neurology in London have been injecting chilli juice into each others’ foreheads. Lab technician Paul Hammond, who got roped into the experiment, says it felt like acid was burning into his skin. “It was one of the most excruciating pains you can imagine,” he recalls.
The researchers weren’t sadomasochists, as far as we know. Their actions were part of a much larger research effort that has been shedding light on migraine. For although in the past few decades we have learned a great deal about the condition, we still have no idea of its root cause. And while we have drugs that help some patients, some of the time, understanding the underlying defect is the best way to boost our chances of discovering a sure-fire cure.
Migraine is a severe headache, usually on one side, often accompanied by nausea and vomiting and associated with finding light or sound painful (photophobia and phonophobia). There are two types:
- Migraine with aura (classical) – the headache is preceded by a preliminary phase called an aura, when symptoms such as seeing flashing lights, temporary visual loss, speech problems or numbness of the face or arms may occur
- Migraine without aura (common) – no aura precedes the headache
Causes of migraine
The precise cause of migraine is unclear, but changes in the size of blood vessels and the levels of neurotransmitter substances (chemical messengers) in the brain are thought to be responsible.
In particular, a drop in the levels of the brain chemical serotonin is believed to be responsible for the dilatation (widening) of the blood vessels that causes the throbbing headache. Continue reading Migraine Headaches
Acupuncture is a therapy in which thin needles are inserted into the skin at defined points; it originates from China. Acupuncture is used in many countries for migraine prophylaxis – that is, to reduce the frequency and intensity of migraine attacks.
We reviewed 22 trials which investigated whether acupuncture is effective in the prophylaxis of migraine. Six trials investigating whether adding acupuncture to basic care (which usually involves only treating acute headaches) found that those patients who received acupuncture had fewer headaches. Continue reading Acupuncture for Migraine Headaches
A study published in February 2012 of mothers and their young babies by neurologists at the University of California, San Francisco, has shown that mothers who suffer migraine headaches are more than twice as likely to have babies with colic than mothers without the history of migraines.
This work raises a question of whether colic may be an early symptom of migraines. Continue reading Link between Infantile Colic and Mothers Migraines
Patient: Woman 38 years
Complaint: Classic Migraine Headaches when stressed or angry. This patient had a minor scoliosis and was hypermobile. There were various areas of asymmetry which I noticed when I looked at her, the most obvious being her face.
The Migraines lasted for 24 hours, with a frequency of 1 per week. There was no link to her menstrual cycle.
Treatment: I treated this Lady using Cranio-Sacral Therapy. Two areas were problematic, the left sacroiliac joint and right temporal bone. It took 3 treatments over 2 weeks to correct these areas. The Lady was pain free for 3 months after this treatment.
Prognosis: The intensity and frequency of her Migraine Headaches is markedly reduced.
She returns for treatment 2 or 3 times a year – when she feels the need.