by Lisa J. Lehr
Headaches are among the most frequently reported health problems. Migraines are the most common type; many people suffer occasional tension headaches, with chronic tension headaches less common. These may co-exist in adults who have migraines, causing “mixed headaches”; add in sinus and cluster headaches, and the number of headache sufferers probably approaches 100%.
We generally have three categories of remedies to choose from: prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, and so-called natural remedies. Some people go straight to the doctor for a prescription, thinking that “strongest” equals “best.” This is not a good idea, for several reasons.
First, prescription drugs can be terribly expensive. Those who have good insurance coverage may not be concerned about cost, but then there are side effects. Possible side effects of prescription medications include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, lightheaded, drowsiness, hair loss, muscle weakness, cramps, and (rarely) stroke or heart attack.
Taking multiple prescription medications, or even certain ones combined with certain supplements, can be extremely dangerous. Often the doctor and pharmacist don’t say anything about this because they don’t know that a patient is taking so many things—if the patient goes to more than one doctor, for example, or takes a number of over-the-counter preparations.
If your doctor has prescribed medicine for your headaches, however, do not stop without consulting your doctor.
Although the over-the-counter drugs on the market have been approved as “safe and effective,” they should be considered serious medications with potentially harmful side effects. Many people don’t realize that overuse can lead to “rebound” headache. You can stay within the dosage guidelines and still have problems; doses of as little as a single aspirin or acetaminophen a day can cause drug-rebound headaches, which can be as severe and disabling as the original headache—or worse.
These pitfalls may be avoided with a wide selection of herbal and mineral supplements. If you choose this avenue, you should still be under a doctor’s care; however, you will steer clear of most of the dangers associated with prescription drugs. The list of herbal remedies that have been found effective for headaches include:
Honey (strictly speaking, not an herbal remedy)
Lithium (this is a mineral—not an herbal remedy)
Magnesium (this is a mineral—not an herbal remedy)
Riboflavin (vitamin B-2—not an herbal remedy)
General precautions: Some of these are not recommended for pregnant or nursing women or children under age two; don’t take any of these with Coumadin or other blood thinners without consulting a doctor or pharmacist; don’t take them if you have kidney problems without consulting a doctor or pharmacist. It’s always recommended that you consult your health care practitioner before using any new supplement.
Prescription medications have truly worked miracles for some people. But instead of thinking of them as a first resort, consider them a last resort.
Lisa J. Lehr is a writer, copywriter, and health enthusiast living in Grass Valley. She can help you promote your business with a full range of online and offline marketing pieces. A member of Empire Toastmasters, she’s available to speak to your business or professional group. Visit her website www.justrightcopy.com for more information, opt in for a message series, and receive a free Marketing Guide.