Pain - head; Rebound headaches; Medication overuse headaches
Keep a headache diary to help find the source or trigger of your symptoms. Then change your environment or habits to avoid future headaches.
When a headache occurs, write down:
- The date and time the headache began
- What you ate for the past 24 hours
- How long you slept the night before
- What you were doing and thinking about just before the headache started
- Any stress in your life
- How long the headache lasted
- What you did to make it stop
After a period of time, you may begin to see a pattern.
You may relieve a headache by resting with your eyes closed and head supported. Relaxation techniques can help. A massage or heat applied to the back of the upper neck can help relieve tension headaches.
TAKING HEADACHE MEDICATIONS AT HOME
Try acetaminophen, aspirin, or ibuprofen for tension headaches. Do NOT give aspirin to children because of the risk of
Migraine headaches may respond to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or migraine medications that contain a combination of drugs.
If over-the-counter remedies do not control your pain, talk to your doctor about possible prescription medications.
People who take pain medications regularly for 3 or more days a week may develop medication overuse, or rebound headaches. All types of pain pills (including over-the-counter drugs) can cause rebound headaches. If you think this may be a problem for you, talk to your health care provider.
Prescription medications used for migraine headaches include:
- Ergotamine with caffeine (Cafergot)
- Isometheptene (Midrin)
- Triptans like sumatriptan (Imitrex), rizatriptan (Maxalt), eletriptan (Relpax), almotriptan (Axert), and zolmitriptan (Zomig)
Review Date: 10/30/2010
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.