Are You at Risk for Medication Overuse Headaches?

Boutique Dentistry for Nashville, Tennessee

People in the US rely heavily on medications to treat daily conditions. In fact, we rely on them so much that we have created an opioid crisis in this country, largely related to prescription painkillers.

But there are other risks associated with using too much medication, such as medication overuse headaches. This is when medications that are supposed to help with your headaches start causing them instead. Now a new study helps us identify people who are most likely to overuse medications and develop these headaches.

At the Center for Advanced Dentistry in Nashville, neuromuscular dentist Dr. Kent E. White offers medication-free treatments for headaches that can help you bypass this problem while enjoying fewer and less painful headaches.

Are Medications Causing Your Headaches?

Finding the Risks for Medication Overuse

The population for this study were 164 people who came seeking treatment for their headaches. Of these patients, more than a quarter, 43, met the diagnostic criteria for medication overuse headaches. Researchers then sought connections with other aspects of the patients, including their demographic data, how they described their data, what medications they were using, whether they had psychiatric conditions, and more.

They found that some characteristics were associated with increased likelihood of medication overuse headaches, including:

  • Use of combination medications
  • Perceived high level of disability
  • Fear of pain

The medications were most strongly linked to medication overuse, with the other two factors less strongly linked.

We can combine this study with another one that looked at the tendency to overuse over-the-counter NSAID pain relievers like ibuprofen (Advil), which showed that about 15% of people used too much ibuprofen. Most of these were people with chronic pain conditions.

Managing the Dangers of Medications

These studies show that when people rely on medications for pain relief, they will have a tendency to overuse them, often with negative consequences. In addition to medication overuse headaches, about 75,000 people a year go to the hospital for ibuprofen-related complications, and up to another 100,000 visits from people who use too much acetaminophen (Tylenol).

People in pain will seek relief, and if they are going to avoid the dangers of medications, we need to offer them pain relief options that don’t involve drugs.

We offer TMJ treatment that can help you  identify the root cause of your headaches and treat them without medications. Because TMJ is a chronic pain condition, treatment can help you avoid pain now and into the future.

To learn whether TMJ is responsible for your headaches, please call (615) 383-6787 today for an appointment with Dr. White a the Center for Advanced Dentistry.