It has been estimated that 1 in 50 people in the United Kingdom experience headaches caused by medication overuse. Taking painkillers too often can actually reduce their effectiveness and cause further pain.

In answer to this situation, the UK’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has urged GPs to consider ‘medication overuse’ when diagnosing patients.

Martin Underwood, a GP and professor of primary care research at Warwick Medical School who chaired the guideline's development said: “We have effective treatments for common headache types. However, taking these medicines for more than ten or fifteen days a month can cause medication overuse headache, which is a disabling and preventable disorder." 

“Patients with frequent tension-type headaches or migraines can get themselves into a vicious cycle, where their headaches are getting increasingly worse, so they take more medication which makes their pain even worse as they take more medication.”

Dr Gillian Leng, Deputy Chief Executive of NICE said: “Our guideline outlines the assessments and treatments that people should expect to receive for primary headaches and medication overuse. We hope that this will help GPs and other healthcare professionals to correctly diagnose the type of headache disorder and better recognise patients whose headaches could be caused by their over-reliance on medications.”

One thing that the guidelines seem to have overlooked is the growing body of evidence that dental parafunction can be a cause of headaches and migraines; putting dental professionals in the position to help patients in some cases ease the pain without the need for continued pharmaceutical intervention. This is where NTI-tss comes into its own. The only FDA approved non pharma treatment proved effictive for Migraines and Chronic Headaches. 

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