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Beware of headaches due to overuse of pain relievers during Covid-19 season

I contracted Covid-19 2 months ago, during the illness I only had a slight headache, but after recovering from the disease, the headache still did not go away, even worse.

I endured with the usual pain relievers, but when the effects wore off, the pain came back. How do I get out of this situation? Thanks for the advice Doctor, thank you very much!

(Nguyen Mai, 40 years old, HCMC)

According to expert Than Thi Minh Trung, deputy head of the Department of Neurology, Tam Anh General Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, the groups of over-the-counter pain relievers such as paracetamol, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) include aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen. … is used by many people thanks to its quick pain relief effect. In cold weather or when headaches become symptoms or sequelae of Covid-19, these drugs are used even more commonly.

However, many people, because they do not know the dose, or want to quickly stop the pain, use the drug continuously, leading to “addiction” to the drug, drug resistance, poisoning, causing many dangerous side effects.

Beware of headaches caused by overuse of pain relievers during the Covid-19 season - Photo 1
Overuse of pain relievers can make headaches worse


Usually, fast-acting pain relievers are effective after 15-30 minutes of use and last about 4-6 hours. Then the pain can come back and the person gets into a vicious cycle: headache – taking medicine – pain again – continuing to take medicine.

The most worrisome problem is that the long-term use of headache medicine (more than 5 days) can cause addiction, drug dependence, drug resistance, making patients tend to increase the dose or shorten the time to take the next dose. When used in excess of the recommended dose, the interval between two doses is too short (eg, only 1-2 hours apart)… can lead to side effects such as nausea, upper abdominal pain, itching, loss of appetite. , dark urine, clay-colored stools or jaundice. Some cases also have stomach ulcers, liver and kidney damage, and many mental problems such as insomnia, dizziness, anxiety, etc.

Therefore, patients must be very careful when using pain relievers, if during use, they find abnormality, they should stop and visit a medical facility to diagnose the cause. In addition, when taking long-term medication but still does not reduce pain, consult your doctor whether to continue using these drugs or to replace other treatment methods.

When having a headache, the patient should try natural pain relief solutions first, instead of taking medicine such as: hot or cold compress; soak in a warm bath; relaxation through stretching exercises, yoga or meditation; scalp massage; use natural essential oils; Apply breathing exercises (inhale for 5 seconds then exhale for 5 seconds).

Beware of headaches caused by overuse of pain relievers during the Covid-19 season - Photo 2
A cold compress is one of the natural ways to relieve headaches


In addition, patients should supplement with nutrients for the brain, especially those that are resistant to free radicals. Because of the excessive proliferation of free radicals in the body, it is the leading cause of headaches and migraines. They increase white blood cell activity, initiate inflammation, and produce vasodilators. Not to mention, these free radicals also proliferate after infection with SARS-CoV-2.

Recently, American scientists discovered that Blueberry (originated from North America) contains two biological active ingredients Anthocyanin, Pterostilbene with small molecular weight, so it easily crosses the blood-brain barrier, neutralizing free radicals. in blood vessels, and at the same time activates natural anti-free radical enzymes in the body. In particular, when combining Blueberry with Ginkgo Biloba, it will help increase the anti-free radical effect, prevent atherosclerosis, nourish brain blood vessels and nerve cells, thereby effectively improving headaches.

In addition to the above solutions, each person needs to build a healthy and scientific lifestyle such as: sleeping right and enough hours (sleeping 7-8 hours/night; going to bed/waking up at the same time); actively doing sports; increase fresh and green foods, minimize foods high in MSG, nitrates and caffeinated drinks; Avoid chewing on hard, hard things too much and give up the habit of tying your hair in a ponytail or wearing a headband that is too tight…

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