Painkillers could be CAUSING your headache and not curing it

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Painkillers could be CAUSING your headache and not curing it Empty Painkillers could be CAUSING your headache and not curing it

Post by Tee on Tue Dec 13, 2011 5:49 am

Last updated at 10:19 PM on 10th December 2011

When suffering a headache, we reach for the painkillers, then get on with the day. Yet if new research is to be believed, in many cases these pills could be the cause of the problems rather than a cure.

A condition known as medication overuse headache (MOH) is thought to affect one million Britons, about six per cent of headache patients seen by GPs each year.

‘In some specialised UK headache clinics, up to 90 per cent of patients may have chronic migraine complicated by MOH,’ says Dr Nicholas Silver, consultant neurologist at The Walton Centre for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Liverpool.

‘While it is most likely to develop in patients being treated for chronic headaches, over-the-counter drugs can have the same effect on otherwise healthy individuals too.’

The new study, carried out at Imperial College London, showed that both men and women who took a range of drugs to treat headaches often ended up with more head pain than they started with. The findings suggest that MOH may also develop when painkillers are taken for other painful conditions.

It is not fully understood why painkillers can cause discomfort, but one theory is that the brain adapts to repeated use of certain drugs, resulting in an increased sensitivity to pain.

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