Headaches Are a Pain: How to Deal in Recovery

In recovery, it is likely you encountered some side effects of using substances. Nobody escapes in recovery from some side effects. It just depends on what type of addiction it was, the person’s individual experience, and how long they were in addiction as to how it impacted them overall. Different types of substances produce different types of headaches. Learn more about headaches and their causes to determine how best to beat the pain in recovery.

Alcohol Abuse

Drinking alcohol can trigger migraine-type headaches for some people. It is easy to remember the headache just soon after it happens, but then it fades and people forget. That is why they keep drinking, to some extent, is either to get rid of the headache or they do not remember how bad it was to begin with. Alcohol abuse in people with migraine-type headaches may suffer from alcohol-induced migraines at a higher rate.

Drug Abuse

Alcohol is not just a contributing factor. Abusing over-the-counter and prescription medication can also be associated with the onset or risk of headaches. Conventional medications recommended to treat pain can cause headaches also, including Ibuprofen.


Regular smoking can lead to frequent headaches, and also nicotine withdrawal, which can cause more smoking to stay away from withdrawal, using Chantix, a drug often used as a nicotine-replacement therapy, can also cause headaches as a side effect.

Illicit Drugs

Drugs like cocaine, marijuana, and amphetamines are a contributing factor for headaches. People who struggle with a series of headaches (cluster) likely used drugs prior to the onset of the condition, but not always. It depends on the person and their situation.

Headache Therapies

Some headaches can be treated with over-the-counter medications like Advil or Aleve. When this is not enough, it helps to look into meditation or acupuncture as a treatment for severe headaches. This includes nerve blocks, which is numbing an area with local anesthetic or corticosteroids. One of the ways to try is to stop drinking or using drugs that bring on headaches. The challenge in recovery is knowing that some drugs that are taken for pain relief will not work or will not help with headaches and may actually make them worse. The difficult part of this is knowing what to take, when to take it, and how to take them responsibly in recovery. Speak to a treating physician who can help you understand what you need to know so you make an informed decision for your recovery.

The Last Resort provides a safe, supportive environment for men in a retreat-like setting. Nature is an important component of recovery and healing. We strive to provide a place of enrichment that cultivates the inner as well as the outer journey of recovery. However you find your way to the Last Resort, we endeavor to provide a haven where you can journey through recovery feeling like your life and story have meaning and a purpose. Call us to find out more: 512-750-6750.