A neurology consultant has gone public with an opinion that will make doctors angry, but won’t surprise most people who’ve talked to their doctor about headaches. He said that many people suffer needlessly because doctors commonly misdiagnose headaches. This, combined with attempts to resolve headaches with over-the-counter medications, leads to people not getting relief from their headaches, and potentially developing even more headaches.
“Majority of Referrals … Based on Misdiagnosis”
Writing in the Daily Mail, a British doctor says that most primary care physicians, including family doctors and internal medicine doctors, are very bad at diagnosing the different types of headaches. He says that the majority of referrals sent to the hospital where he works are based on misdiagnosis.
The problem, he says, is that doctors don’t get enough training on headaches, which is true in the US as well, where headaches are not taken as seriously as they should be.
Most of the problems with misdiagnosis relate to migraines. Many doctors will mistakenly confuse tension headaches for migraines, and, when presented with migraines, they will often designate them as major neurological problems. As a result of these misdiagnoses, patients are given treatments that won’t help their headaches–and may be harmful–or aren’t given the treatments that will.
Medication Overuse Headaches
But doctors aren’t the only ones responsible for the ongoing headache crisis. People with headaches often do themselves a disservice by trying to treat their headaches with over-the-counter medications, this doctor says.
When people experience headaches, they often try to avoid going to the doctor–which is expensive, inconvenient, and, as we discussed above, may lead to misdiagnosis–by taking over-the-counter medications.
There are many problems with relying on over-the-counter medications like this. First, they’re not as safe as you might think. Second, it’s possible to start developing medication overuse headaches, sometimes called “rebound” headaches. These occur when people use medications so much that their body comes to expect them, and the state without medication becomes very painful.
A Different Approach with Drug-Free Treatments
Fortunately, though, there are other approaches to treating your headaches. If you’ve been having difficulty getting quality headache care from your doctor, consider seeing a TMJ dentist. If you headaches are related to TMJ, then we can get you significant relief without drugs. Instead, we will identify the core cause of your headaches, whether it’s sore muscles or pinched nerves, and recommend a treatment that positions your jaw in a health way to ensure healthy and harmonious function.