The Mayo Clinic suggests that the first step in treating a headache is to determine what type of headache is being experienced. The treatment depends on the type of headache, such as a tension, cluster or migraine headache. General treatments include pain-reliving medication, bed rest, a cold compress and massaging the temple where the pain originates.
According to Mayo Clinic, tension headaches and migraines are both treated with over-the-counter medications such as Ibuprofen or Tylenol, though migraines are sometimes prescribed stronger medications. Relaxation exercises, such as meditation, can help these types of headache. Mayo Clinic adds that a good treatment for a migraine, after taking medication, is to rest in a quiet, dark room with a warm or cold compress on the forehead depending on which feels best.
Cluster headaches are headaches that start suddenly with little warning, are primarily on one side of the head, and can last anywhere from fifteen minutes to an hour. This type of headache can often be treated with preventative medications, increasing the oxygen with an oxygen mask or by massaging the temple.
Chronic headaches are headaches that occur on a regular basis more than half the month and are usually a symptom of an underlying illness such as depression. Once the underlying illness is treated, the headaches often stop. However, if there is no underlying illness, a doctor can prescribe preventative medicines.