Rebound headache is a type of chronic headache that can result from overuse of pain medicines. This is often a problem for people who have frequent, severe headaches.
A rebound headache occurs once pain medicine has worn off, prompting a person to take another dose. This can lead to a cycle of more frequent headaches and taking higher doses of medicine more often until a person builds up a tolerance. Eventually a headache results whenever the medicine is stopped. At that point, the person can't stop taking the pain relievers without having a headache.
Treating rebound headache can be hard. To break the cycle, medicine may be needed that helps prevent headaches, and the person needs to avoid pain medicine when headaches occur. Gradually, headaches may become less frequent and less severe.
Last Revised: July 24, 2013
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Andrew Swan, MD, CCFP, FCFP - Family Medicine
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