What Helps With Headaches?


Quick Answer

Most headaches can be helped with over-the-counter pain relievers, including aspirin and products containing ibuprofen or those containing acetaminophen. Other methods for treating headache pain include meditation, cognitive behavioral therapy, relaxation training and biofeedback, according to Mayo Clinic.

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Full Answer

The type of treatment recommended for a particular headache is generally based on the headache type. Dull, achy tension-type headaches that feel like a tight band around the head and that cause mild or moderate pain on both sides of the head usually respond to over-the-counter medications. These headaches can last from 30 minutes up to a whole week and are generally triggered by neck strain, depression, lack of sleep, anxiety and stress.

Treatment for migraine headaches can include over-the-counter pain relievers, but may also include prescription medications, cold or hot compresses to the neck or head, massage, caffeine and rest. Migraines usually last from 4 to 72 hours and may be characterized by vomiting, nausea or sensitivity to light, according to Mayo Clinic.

Cluster headaches may occur everyday for periods of several months and are accompanied by tearing or redness of the eyes and pain that is concentrated on one side of the head. Over-the-counter pain medications are not very effective in treating this type of headache. Injectable prescription medications, triptan nasal sprays and oxygen are general treatments for cluster headaches, according to Mayo Clinic.

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