Headache relief can come in many forms, depending on the type of headache and your response to medications and natural treatments.
Although our first response to a headache is to take an over the counter medication, there may be other treatments that will be equally effective at either preventing or stopping the pain of a headache.
Simply taking good care of yourself may be a significant help finding headache relief.
Make Basic Lifestyle Choices
Some simple lifestyle choices can significantly reduce the number of basic tension headaches you get. Some of these same guidelines will also help you stay healthy besides freeing you from some of the pain from headaches.
First, don’t skip meals. Eat small, healthy meals containing whole grains and fruits and vegetables. Especially be sure to start the day with a healthy breakfast.
Second, you should create a regular exercise program. When you exercise, the body releases endorphins, the chemicals that create blocks on the pain signals to your brain. Don’t exercise too vigorously, especially at first, since exercise that is too strenuous can actually trigger headaches in some people.
Third, be sure you are sleeping an adequate amount. It is best for your overall health, as well as for preventing headaches, if you go to sleep and wake up near the same time each day.
The fourth headache-busting tip is to lay off the caffeine. That’s right, I mean you. Oh, sure, caffeine can sometimes help limit headaches. Nonetheless, daily caffeine use – amounting to more than 600 milligrams – actually leads to headaches and irritability.
There are, of course, over-the-counter as well as prescription medications that can also reduce the pain of a headache. The two most common of these medicines are acetaminophen and aspirin, and they are generally safe for adults. Children under 20 years of age should not use asprin for headache relief.
Overuse of any medication can cause either dependency or illness or both, so care should be taken with any medication. When you use over the counter medicines for headache relief, check the ingredients so you know what you’re taking. If you’ll be visiting the doctor, be sure to know exactly what over the counter medications you’ve ingested.
When looking for headache relief through over the counter medicines, keep to the recommended dosage; don’t exceed what’s written on the package regardless of how bad your headache is. Any larger doses should only be taken under the supervision of a doctor. It is unfortunately easy to over-medicate without realizing it.
- Anti-inflammatory medicines like ibuprofen or naproxen can be taken in place of those other pain relievers.
- On the other hand, products containing acetaminophen can be dangerous to those with kidney and liver problems.
Although over the counter medications are generally considered safe, not all products are safe for each person. Products with aspirin (Excedrin, Bayer) or ibuprofen (Motrin, generics), and naproxen (found in Aleve, Naprosyn) can be unsafe for people who have trouble with bleeding, asthma, recent surgery, dental surgery, or ulcers, so you should check with your doctor before using them.