Many people with chronic headaches take pain killers almost daily. A report from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence in the United Kingdom states that taking too many pain killers is actually making your headaches worse. The guidelines define overuse of pain medication for more than 15 days out of the month.
Types of chronic headaches include migraine headaches, tension headaches, and cluster headaches among others. What happens is the nervous system becomes accustom to the medication, which makes it require more and more medication for relief. But taking more of the medication may actually lead to another more intense headache. This can lead to a cycle of headaches and pain relievers causing more headaches.
The guidelines suggest that the best thing to do is stop taking the medications and work to prevent the headaches with treatments such as acupuncture.
Acupuncture is unlike taking a pill because acupuncture can both stop the pain and prevent the pain from returning. As an acupuncturist, we say that acupuncture works by correcting imbalances in the body that are causing the headache. Once the imbalance is corrected you can experience long lasting pain relief.
Also, there are physiological reasons that acupuncture has a long term reduction on pain. Acupuncture has been shown to reduce pain by regulating neural pain pathways, stimulating the release of the body’s natural pain relievers, as well as regulating pain relieving receptors. This regulation of the brain and the central nervous system is an important factor in the long lasting impact of acupuncture.