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Rebound Headache | Medication Overuse Headache

Updated on Jul 11, 2021 by Dr. Amr Hosny (Headache Specialist) of Advanced Headache Center

It’s common to reach for an aspirin when you have a headache. Everyone does it from time to time. But if you find that you’re taking over-the-counter medication often, you may be developing a type of tolerance that’s making these drugs less effective. The headaches you then start getting are called rebound headaches or medication overuse headaches. This can be a dangerous game that leads to debilitating migraines that interrupt your daily life. Don’t take that chance. If you have recurring headaches, see an expert at the Advanced Headache Center, with offices in Midtown Manhattan and throughout Bergen County, New Jersey. Call the nearest Center today to learn how to end your suffering without creating additional complications.

What Is a Rebound Headache?

When you have headaches that aren’t well-controlled, and you take over-the-counter medication for relief almost daily, you can end up triggering pain that’s called a rebound headache. This type of headache is also called a medication overuse headache. The more you overuse headache medication, the less effective it becomes, leaving you worse off than when you started taking them.

Instead of self-medicating when you have severe recurring headaches, seek out medical professionals who specialize in the cause and treatment of headaches. Your best choice in New York City or Paramus, NJ is the Advanced Headache Center, where you’re able to get top-notch care. Dr. Amr Hosny and his staff of trained headache specialists have the training, experience, expertise, and technology to diagnose and treat rebound headaches, as well as other types of headaches and migraines.

What Are the Signs of Medication Overuse Headaches?

If you have medication overuse headaches, you may wake up almost every morning with a headache. While you may get some initial relief from taking pain medication, your headache usually comes back once the pain pills have worn off. Other symptoms you may experience include:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Nausea
  • Neck pain
  • Poor sleep

These headaches may vary in severity, depending on what triggers your headaches and the type of medication you’ve been taking. People who have a primary headache disorder — such as migraines, cluster headaches, or tension headaches — are at a high risk of developing rebound headaches. Rather than continuing to self-medicate with little results, rely on nearby pain management experts for a headache treatment at an NYC headache center.

What Medications Trigger Rebound Headaches?

Both over-the-counter and prescription medications that you take to relieve headaches can trigger medication overuse headaches when you take them at a higher dose or for a longer duration than is normally recommended. Examples include:

  • Migraine medications. Different types of medications prescribed for migraines can trigger rebound headaches. These include triptan drugs, as well as some ergots. Don’t take these drugs without talking to your headache specialist about the danger of medication overuse headaches.
  • Pain medication derived from opium or synthetic opium compounds have a high risk of triggering rebound headaches. These include acetaminophen or ibuprofen mixed with codeine. Opiates also put you at risk for developing a dangerous dependency or addiction.
  • Simple pain relievers. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen and aspirin can increase your risk of medication overuse headaches. Many people don’t realize how dangerous these drugs can be.
  • Combination of pain relievers. Caffeine is sometimes combined with other pain relievers in both over-the-counter and prescription analgesics. Combination pain relievers containing caffeine or butalbital are known to cause medication overuse headaches.

Other medications not used for pain relief can also trigger this kind of headache. Examples include sinus medication and sedatives taken for sleep. When Dr. Hosny uses a combination of medications, he practices rational polypharmacy to keep your treatment effective while minimizing the health and addiction risks to you.

How Can I Prevent Medication Overuse Headaches?

When you visit a dedicated migraine center, you’re taught how to take medication appropriately so that it’s both effective and non-harmful. You can prevent medication overuse headaches simply by following the advice of a headache doctor like Dr. Hosny. Suggestions for your particular condition may include:

  • Taking headache medicine only as needed and take no more than has been prescribed
  • Limiting the use of headache medicine to no more than two to three days a week and less than 10 days a month
  • Avoiding opioids or medication containing butalbital

Make sure you’re getting enough sleep and that you’re staying hydrated. Let your headache specialist in NYC or NJ know if you need headache medicine more than two days a week. To treat rebound headaches, your doctor may recommend tapering off the medication gradually or stopping it immediately. Your doctor may prescribe alternative headache prevention medication to help you through this period.

Where Can I Get Relief from Chronic Headaches?

At the Advanced Headache Center, the doctors understand how debilitating headaches can be. Dr. Hosny uses a multimodal approach to accurately diagnose your headache and formulate a treatment plan that’s unique to you. If you have a history of chronic headaches, you’re at risk of developing rebound headaches.

If home remedies and self-medication aren’t giving you relief or if they’re triggering medication overuse headaches, find a doctor who provides headache treatments that work and keep you healthy. Dr. Hosny and his team provide an accurate diagnosis and complete treatment. Don’t take chances with your health. Contact the nearest center today to make an appointment and get started toward a pain-free life.

Dr. Amr Hosny has either authored or reviewed and approved this content. Advanced Headache Center 41 5th Avenue,
New York, NY 10003
(646) 419-3105