Chronic Pain in the Young: Headaches

By | March 28, 2012

A misguided physician who prescribes narcotics or barbiturates for a teenager with headaches is setting the stage for a lifetime of iatrogenic drug addiction.

If I had to pick a syndrome that best exemplified the problems of chronic pain in the young, it would be chronic headaches. Statistically most chronic headaches will start within a decade of puberty. Furthermore, how these headaches are treated will have a major impact on the rest of the patient’s life. I have seen lives destroyed because someone decided that opiates or barbiturates are an appropriate treatment for headaches in a teenager. I have seen other patients who never reached their full potential because they were sidelined by pain for fifteen days out of every month. As we have said before in these blogs, the timeliness of treatment is more critical in the young and the stakes are higher. Nowhere is the importance of a comprehensive, integrated, multi-specialty more clearly defined and the potential for harm by amateurs greater.  At Schlesinger Pain Centers we treat these patients with a special sense of urgency.  Treatment is always based on a firm and accurate diagnosis.

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