- 5 updates
- More than 10 million people in the UK experience regular or frequent headaches.
- An estimated one in 50 people who experience headaches suffer because of medication overuse.
- One in 25 GP consultations relate to headaches.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) has today released new guidelines to help healthcare professionals better diagnose the various types of headaches.
Martin Underwood, a GP and professor of primary care research at Warwick Medical School who chaired the guideline's development, said:
- Over-the-counter painkillers like aspirin, paracetamol and triptans are effective for relieving occasional headaches.
- Using them for tension-type headaches or migraines can reduce their effectiveness.
- Taking painkillers up to half of the days in a month over three months is defined as overuse.
- GPs and healthcare professionals need to better diagnose the different types of headache, and should not always advise the use of painkillers.
Latest ITV News reports
People who regularly take painkillers to treat headaches could be causing themselves more pain than relief, the health watchdog has warned.
The health watchdog has said that painkiller overuse can do more harm than good for headache sufferers and that better diagnosis is the key.