Earlier this year, I posted about the study out of Harvard that showed headaches are being overtreated in America.
Over a 10-year period, the number of patients being referred to specialists, or sent for special diagnostic tests, has doubled.
With more CT scans and MRIs, and more prescriptions medications, headaches are costly. Also, all the extra tests and drugs don’t necessarily help, and they might just cause more problems with side effects.
Related post: Home remedies for headaches
Luckily, some headache specialists are leaning away from the trend to overtreat, and are prescribing exercise and dietary changes instead of drugs. (We’re talking ordinary, chronic headaches here, not brain tumors or sudden, severe headaches.)
But the triggers are different for different people. They can include poor diet, too much sugar or certain types of alcohol. Problems sleeping, stress, lack of exercise or a combination of any number of these things can cause chronic headaches.
Physicians are recommending exercise, including yoga and tai chi, meditation to reduce stress, and eliminating foods that might be triggers. Some patients have had success avoiding too much sugar, dairy or gluten.
Finding the headache triggers, especially with foods, can take time. But it’s worth it if you get more long-term relief at a lower cost.
Here is the NPR podcast if you want to listen to it: