Headaches range widely in severity and duration. A tension headache is quite different from a cluster headache. An acute headache is going to require significantly different treatment plan than a migraine headache. Is there a role for opiate use for headaches? At Nevada Pain, we look at the pros and cons for headache treatments and the possible options with your doctors.

Ask the question, “Can opioids work to alleviate the pain from my headache?” While the answer is “No,” in most cases, there are reasons to discuss this with your physician.

Headaches are usually treated in one of two ways. First, there is the treatment that provides immediate relief from the painful symptoms. The second involves treating the root cause of the pain to prevent additional headaches.

Opioid medications cannot help prevent reoccurring pain.

An opioid medication, such as oxycodone or hydrocodone, can only relieve symptoms. They may be able to stop the pain temporarily but the risk of developing a dependency on these drugs is too great to make them useful as a long-term pain reliever for headaches of any type.

In fact, prolonged use of these medications may actually cause headaches rather than relieve them.

More effective treatments for headaches are generally over-the-counter pain relievers and the avoidance of triggers to prevent pain. Some common triggers include:

  • Stress at work
  • Changes in the weather
  • Strong scents
  • Strenuous exercise
  • Red wine
  • Not eating regularly
  • Caffeine

Talk with your doctor about the most beneficial treatment regimen for your headache pain. If you and your doctor determine that these drugs may be effective for you, use them as prescribed. If you can avoid the use of opioid medications for headache pain most professionals would advise you to do so. Effective treatment will be whatever combination of behavioral modification and medications that work for you.

What kind of headache treatments have you pursued so far?

Image by Sarah via Flickr


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