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Medication Overuse Migraine

About Medication Overuse Headache

What Is A Medication Overuse Headache?

Medication overuse headache (MOH), also known as rebound headache, is a type of headache that occurs as a result of overusing acute pain medications for the treatment of frequent or chronic headaches. MOH can occur when medications, such as over-the-counter pain relievers (e.g., ibuprofen, acetaminophen) or prescription drugs (e.g., triptans, opioids), are taken too frequently or in excessive amounts. The exact mechanisms underlying MOH are not fully understood, but it is believed to involve medication-induced changes in the brain’s pain processing pathways.

Medication Overuse Headache Diagnosis

How Do We Diagnose A Medication Overuse Headache?

The diagnosis of vestibular migraine can be challenging due to the overlap of symptoms with other vestibular disorders. A thorough evaluation and a comprehensive diagnostic approach can help healthcare professionals identify and differentiate vestibular migraine from other conditions.

Medication Overuse Headache Symptoms


Frequent or daily headaches that occur because of medication overuse

Headache may worsen in the morning or shortly after waking up



May need increasing amounts of medications to achieve same level of pain relief



Sensitivity to light and sound

Difficulty concentrating

Treating Medication Overuse Headache With The Watson Headache® Approach

Medication Overuse Headache Treatment

The primary treatment approach for medication overuse headache involves discontinuing the overused medications and implementing strategies to manage headache symptoms.

Under medical supervision, gradual reduction and discontinued overused medications is necessary to break the cycle of medication overuse and allow the brain’s pain processing pathways to reset.

 During the withdrawal process, headache practitioners can provide manual therapy techniques to settle a sensitised brainstem resulting in a reduction of symptoms. Making lifestyle changes, such as managing stress levels, improving sleep hygiene, maintaining a regular sleep schedule, and adopting relaxation techniques, can help manage MOH and prevent headache recurrence.

Education about medication overuse, proper use of pain medications, and strategies for headache management can empower individuals to prevent future episodes of MOH.

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