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Headaches: Doctor Recommended Treatments

Older adults who suffer from debilitating headaches, such as chronic migraines, could benefit from senior care services to assist with the tasks of daily living as well as help with taking the right dosage of medications when they are experiencing an episode.

In addition, the doctors who specialize in head pain conducted a study published in the journal Headache and created a list of the procedures and treatments whose risks and costs outweigh the benefits.

"The article and recommendations identify situations that are felt by experts to be cases where patients and doctors should think very carefully before they decide to use that particular treatment or intervention," Dr. Elizabeth Loder, an author of the new recommendations, said in Reuters.

For the study, Loder and the other authors asked members of the American Headache Society what tests and treatments they thought were used too often or incorrectly and more than 100 items were suggested then whittled down to five based on current evidence.

The new guidelines suggest avoiding imaging brains of patients whose headaches haven't changed over time as well as discouraging the long-term use of over-the-counter pain medication. It recommends doctors avoid prescribing opioids and drugs containing butalbital for patients with frequent headaches. Additionally, it's suggested that doctors shouldn't use computed tomography (CT) on a patient when magnetic resonance imaging is available, unless it's an emergency.

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