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teens with headaches


Teens Narcotics Headaches

Arek Socha – Stockholm/Sweden – Pixabay

“Opioids were go-to drugs for teen headache even though evidence-based guidelines do not recommend them for first-line treatment.”  From a recent MedPage Today article by John Fauber and Kristina Fiore, called, Teens Likely to Get Opioid Rx for Headaches.
As a Chiropractor, I see lots and lots of people with HEADACHES.  Then again, so does the average medical doctor.  In fact, out of approximately 1.2 billion annual doctor visits here in America, between 50 and 100 million are thought to involve headaches.  Some of these headaches are chronic (long-standing) and some are acute.  But the truth is, most cases of headaches can be dealt with via natural means —- without narcotics.   When I say “dealt with,” I am not talking about treating headache patients the way the medical community does —- covering symptoms, without addressing the underlying cause of those symptoms.  I am talking about dealing with the root of the headaches so that there are no more headaches.  Period.  In a moment, I’ll talk about my unique approach to doing this.   But before I get into that, I want to give you one more reason why it’s something you should think seriously about before climbing onto the MEDICAL MERRY-GO-ROUND with your child. 

The latest issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health stated that, “Of 8,373 adolescents with headache, 46% (3,859 patients) received an opioid prescription.   Nearly half (48%) received one opioid prescription during follow-up; and 29% received 3 opioid prescriptions.”  According to the study, about a quarter of those receiving narcotics were diagnosed with MIGRAINE HEADACHES.  This means that 75% of the youth seeking out medical care for their headaches do not have Migraines, yet are being largely treated with hardcore and addictive drugs.  And we wonder why we have a DRUG PROBLEM here in America?

Just the other day, in yet another post on EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE, I stated that, “It would be comical how badly the medical profession ignores their own Medical Guidelines if it weren’t so sad“.  Case in point; this study.   It went on to conclude that, “Despite the treatment guidelines recommending against their use, a large proportion of adolescents with headache were prescribed opioids. Emergency Department visits were strongly correlated with opioid prescriptions“.  For the record, this was a major study done by HealthCore (the research subsidiary of WellPoint), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), and American Academy of Neurology (AAN).  All of this makes me wonder.  If Medical Guidelines aren’t recommending NARCOTICS, what in the world are they recommending? 

According to the article, they recommend things like Tylenol / Ibuproffen or other OTC PAIN RELIEVERS (liver, kidney, and heart destroyers), NSAIDS, or (gulp) a nasal spray called Sumatriptan.   Sumatriptan (aka Imatrex) is a drug given for people with Migraines.  The side effects of this drug — especially over time — can be brutal.  Let’s stop for a moment, attempt to regain our composure, and use some good old-fashioned common sense. 

Do you think there might be better ways to deal with headaches than for your child to take drugs?  Let me put it another way.  Do you think that it might be more important to deal with underlying causes, than to simply use drugs to cover symptoms?  Although there is no such thing as a 100% “cure” for every case of teen headaches, there are a host of things that can make a huge difference.  None are terribly expensive, and none carry serious side effects.

  • DIET:  Because such large numbers of our nation’s adolescents eat such cruddy diets, this is probably the best place to start.  The very first thing to do is cut SUGAR / SODAS / JUNK FOOD, and get the blood sugar under control by going LOW CARB.  Yeah; I get it — it’s tough to get your kid to eat like this —- particularly if they have been eating the SAD (Standard American Diet) for most of their life.  Just keep reminding yourself that you are the parent in this relationship.  Oh; if you Google HEADACHES / GLUTEN, you might realize that your child may very well need to go GLUTEN FREE.  Depending on the source of the headache, there are some great WHOLE FOOD SUPPLEMENTS to help people dealing with headaches as well. 
  • CHIROPRACTIC CARE:  Chiropractors have been successfully helping large numbers of people (kids and adults) with headaches for well over 100 years.   This can be in the form of ADJUSTMENTS or SCAR TISSUE THERAPY (I cannot begin to tell you how many kids I have found with Chronic Scar Tissue over the years).  Depending on the state of the spine, RESTORATION OF THE PROPER CURVE could be a big deal as well.  This is much easier to accomplish in children than adults.
  • PROPER AMOUNTS OF SLEEP AND EXERCISE:  As our society becomes more “plugged in”, we tend to get less sleep and exercise.  This can be a significant factor in headaches as well. 
  • FUNCTIONAL NEUROLOGY:  If serious headaches persist, I would suggest consulting with a CARRICK-TRAINED Functional Neurologist.  The problem could be in the brain.
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