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Jan 14, 2008

Managing HeadAche

Managing a headache may reduce its severity and prevent it from coming back. There are many ways to manage your headaches.
Identify and avoid triggers that cause your headaches.
Avoid taking nonprescription pain relievers more than 3 times a week because you may get rebound headaches. Rebound headaches are usually triggered once pain medicine has worn off, prompting you to take another dose. Eventually you get a headache whenever you stop taking the medicine.
Carry drugs with you to promptly treat an emerging headache.
Take drugs that cause the fewest side effects, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (for example, aspirin or ibuprofen).
Exercise regularly, eat well, and reduce stress to improve your quality of life.



What is the best way to manage a headache?

Combining stress management therapies with drugs can be an effective way to manage most headaches, including migraines or tension headaches. People react differently to various drugs and stress management therapies. Finding the right combination may help you prevent and manage your headaches.
Medicines to treat frequent or severe headaches include pain relievers (both prescription and nonprescription) as well as antidepressants, seizure medicines, or beta-blockers. Educating yourself on the type of headache you have and best treatment for it can help you manage your headaches.
You may be able to reduce headache symptoms with stress management and nonmedication therapy alone, although you may need drugs if the symptoms get worse. Stress management and nonmedication therapies to help prevent and reduce the severity of headaches include:
Biofeedback, a relaxation method to help you learn to control a body function that is not normally under conscious control, such as muscle tension.
A relaxation exercise where you focus on relaxing each muscle group.
Acupuncture, which involves putting very thin needles into the skin at certain points on the body to produce energy flow along the body's meridians. Acupuncture may be helpful in treating headache pain.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), which may help reduce pain.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy or problem-solving therapy during counseling sessions.
Yoga & Meditation.



How to manage a headache

There are many ways to manage headaches.
Stop what you are doing and begin treatment. Don't wait for the headache to get worse.
Apply a cold, moist cloth or ice pack to your forehead and temples.
Rest in a quiet, comfortable, dark room.
Take drugs to stop your headache (abortive medication) as needed.
Take drugs exactly as prescribed by your doctor.
Begin stress management therapy as soon as your headache starts.
Have a massage to relax tense muscles in your head, neck, temples, face, or jaw.

There are things you can do every day to help prevent headaches.


Reduce stress.
Identify and avoid headache triggers by keeping a headache diary.
Maintain good posture to avoid muscle tension.
Live a healthy lifestyle. Get regular sleep, eat nutritious foods regularly, avoid alcohol and drugs, and avoid foods that may trigger your headaches.
Avoid overexertion. Some headaches can be triggered by intense physical activity.
Avoid taking nonprescription pain relievers more than 3 times a week because you may get rebound headaches. Rebound headaches are usually triggered once pain medicine has worn off, prompting you to take another dose. Eventually you get a headache whenever you stop taking the medicine.

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