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Migraines: Lose the Medication

Medication can help reduce the severity of your headache but if this is all you are doing to manage your pain, you can do better. Firstly, do the simple things well: drink plenty of water, get enough sleep, eat well and get your body moving.

The next step is to get your neck checked. Many people suffer unnecessarily from chronic or recurrent headaches simply because they manage it with medication only. There is likely a straightforward cause for your headache, which could be as simple as loosening up the tight muscles or joints in your neck.

If you take medication regularly to relieve or prevent your headache, whether prescription or over the counter, without taking any other steps, you need to set about finding the cause. A significant number of patients present to my clinic each week who have long standing headaches or migraines, and do nothing but take medication. Once they have relief from their headache without relying on medication, which doesn't always work, they are often amazed at how much pain they were actually putting up with.

Too many times patients resort to medication without also finding a long term solution to their problem. Or they progress straight to x-rays, CT scans or MRI's to identify the cause of their pain. Most headaches won't show any signs on imaging (CT, MRI etc), only damage or lesions will show up such brain tumours and this is not the cause of pain in most people. Start with the simple things first. Get your neck checked and it is also a good idea to get your eyes tested, this is often bulk billed at your optometrist.

It should be straight forward to identify your neck as they cause of a headache or to rule it out if it is unlikely to be the cause.

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