You can reduce how many
headaches you get and how bad they are when you do get them. Try
Taking medicines and reducing stress can help you treat and prevent migraines and
When my tension headache begins,
I may be able to keep symptoms from getting worse with stress
relief. And if the headache does not get better, I can
take medicines to better manage my
Reducing stress may stop a tension
headache when it is starting, especially if it is linked to stress or anxiety.
Taking medicines can stop your headache if it gets worse.
Continue to Why?
treatment may keep your headache from getting worse and
may help you feel better sooner. This is especially true if you have migraine headaches. You will miss less work
or school, and you may improve the quality of your
Treating my migraine right away can improve the
quality of my life.
Treating your migraine as soon as it begins may
help reduce symptoms. And it may keep your headache from
getting worse or lasting longer. You will miss fewer daily activities and
improve the quality of your life.
Continue to How?
You can try several
things to stop a headache after it starts:
You can do things every day to help prevent headaches:
Other treatments that may
help prevent migraines include:4
When I first have signs of a
headache, I should try to ignore it because it might go away.
You may be able to keep your headache from
getting worse by starting stress-relief treatment right away. You
also may want to take medicine right away. The longer you wait to
treat your headache, the more likely it is to get
Lying down in a dark, quiet room with a cold cloth
over my head may be all I need to do to manage a tension
Lying down and placing a cold cloth or ice pack
on your head or face may be all you need to reduce the pain from a
tension headache. But if your doctor has prescribed drugs
to stop a headache from getting worse (such as a triptan for migraines), you
should always follow your doctor's instructions and take your medicine as soon
as the headache begins.
Continue to Where?
Now that you have read this
information, you are ready to start managing your headaches.
If you have questions about
this information, print it out and take it with you when
you visit your doctor. You may want to use a highlighter to mark
areas or make notes in the margins of pages where you have questions.
headache diary with you when you visit your doctor. Be sure to let him or her
know if you have any change in your symptoms.
Talk with your doctor about the best way to manage your headaches.
Return to topic:
Linde K, et al. (2009). Acupuncture for
tension-type headache. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (1).
Linde K, et al. (2009). Acupuncture for migraine
prophylaxis. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
Haghighi AB, et al. (2010). Cutaneous application of menthol 10% solution as an
abortive treatment of migraine without aura:
A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled,
crossed-over study. International Journal of Clinical Practice, 64(4): 451–456.
Holland S, et al. (2012). Evidence-based guideline update: NSAIDs and other complementary treatments for episodic migraine prevention in adults: Report of the Quality Standards Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology and the American Headache Society. Neurology, 78(17): 1346–1353.
June 14, 2013
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
& Andrew Swan, MD, CCFP, FCFP - Family Medicine
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