Medications are supposed to reduce or eliminate your pain from headaches. Unfortunately, sometimes the opposite can happen: your medications actually ending up causing headaches. These medication overuse or rebound headaches can be very difficult to manage, so it’s best to avoid them when possible.
Here are some tips for avoiding rebound headaches.
Follow Instruction for Medications
When you’re given medications for your headaches, make sure you take them as prescribed. This means always the recommended dosage and always waiting the full period before taking another dose.
Don’t increase your dose without talking to your doctor, even if you think it would be safe. Let your doctor know if medications aren’t working as they used to. This is a sign that you might be starting to develop rebound headaches.
Don’t Take OTC Medications without Telling Your Doctor
Never supplement your prescription medication with over-the-counter (OTC) medications unless you’ve explicitly cleared it with your doctor. Be aware of the labeling instructions, including the maximum recommended dosage, and always comply with them.
If you don’t have a prescription medication and are relying only on OTC medications for treatment, don’t use them for more than 15 days a month. If you think you need them more often than that, talk to your doctor about maybe getting a prescription.
Be Aware Which Medications Have Highest Risk
Not all medications are equally likely to lead to rebound headaches. In particular, opioids, triptans, and butalbital are all commonly associated with rebound headaches. When your doctor recommends these, make sure you talk about strategies to avoid dependence, addiction, and rebound headaches.
Consider Drug-Free Treatments
Medications aren’t the only way to get relief from your headaches. There are many drug-free treatments that can reduce the frequency or severity of headaches. They may even eliminate them altogether. If you aren’t taking medications, you won’t develop medication rebound headaches.
TMJ treatment is one drug-free approach to treating headaches that can be very successful. It can treat tension headaches, migraines, and it can reduce the incidence of other pains such as neck or jaw pain.
TMJ treatment can be used alone or can be used in concert with drug treatments. It can reduce your dependence on pain drugs and help you avoid rebound headaches. It can even be used as part of a recovery plan from rebound headaches.
Sleep apnea treatment can also help with some headaches, especially morning headaches and migraines.