Headache - mixed tension migraine
Certain things may cause your headaches. For example, some people get headaches after drinking alcohol or eating certain foods. These are called triggers. You should identify your specific triggers and avoid them as much as possible.
A headache diary can help you identify your headache triggers. When you get a headache, write down the day and time the pain began. The diary should include notes about what you ate and drank in the last 24 hours, how much you slept and when, and what was going on in your life immediately before the pain started. For example, were you under any unusual stress? Also include information about how long the headache lasted, and what made it stop.
Hot or cold showers or baths may relieve a headache for some people. It is important to follow a healthy lifestyle, get plenty of sleep, and to avoid stress as much as possible.
Over-the-counter medicines such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen may help. If your headaches are severe, your doctor may prescribe other medicines to relieve your pain and prevent further attacks.
For specific treatment information, see:
Avoiding triggers and taking the appropriate medicine can help manage headache symptoms in many people.
Pain medications only relieve headache symptoms for a short period of time. After a while, they do not work as well or the help they provide does not last as long. Regular, overuse of pain medications can lead to rebound headaches. Typically this occurs in people who take pain medications 3 or more times a week on a regular basis.
It's important to see a doctor if you have chronic headaches. In some cases, the headache may be a symptom of a more serious disorder.
Calling your health care provider
It is important to have a full medical and neurological exam if you suddenly have regular or severe headaches.
Call 911 or your local emergency number if:
- You are experiencing "the worst headache of your life"
- You have speech, vision, or movement problems or loss of balance, especially if you have not had these symptoms with a headache before
- Your headaches are more severe when lying down
- The headache starts very suddenly
Also, call your doctor if:
- Your headache patterns or pain change
- Treatments that once worked are no longer helpful
- You have side effects from medication, including irregular heartbeat, pale or blue skin, extreme sleepiness, persistent cough, depression, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, stomach pain, cramps, dry mouth, or extreme thirst
- You are pregnant or could become pregnant -- some medications should not be taken when pregnant
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