HEALTH

Treating chronic headaches the right way

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(WJLA) - According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 40 million Americans live with chronic headaches. Now there are new recommendations for treating them.

The American Headache Society warns patients to avoid prescription painkillers as a first treatment for migraines. Researchers say people with chronic conditions can become dependent on drugs like Oxycontin and Vicodin. 

The society also recommends limiting the use of brain scans, especially in non-emergency situations. Researches say CAT scans should not be used as a diagnostic tool for headache patients when an MRI is available. 

The aim is to weed out useless, expensive and potentially harmful approaches, cut back on ineffective and expensive screenings, and eliminate the use of potentially addictive pain drugs to treat chronic headaches. 

So with all of that advice, how should people treat their chronic headaches? The best approach is to ask your doctor what the options are. Even with the new guidelines in mind, it's a first step toward living pain-free. 

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