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Personal stories about taking medications for tension headaches

These stories are based on information gathered from health professionals and consumers. They may be helpful as you make important health decisions.

Joyce, age 34 : My job requires me to spend a lot of time in front of a computer screen, and my eyes are sore at the end of most days. I also have a lot of stress in my life right now. I am getting frequent tension headaches, but an aspirin usually relieves the pain. I'm keeping a headache diary to see how often I get these headaches. I am going to try putting a filter on my computer screen and taking frequent breaks. I've also signed up for a yoga class to help me relax. If I continue to have tension headaches, I will take my headache diary to my doctor and see if I need stronger medicines.

John, age 45 : Recently I've been getting tension headaches almost daily. I am taking naproxen and sometimes aspirin every day. My headaches go away for awhile but then come back within a couple of hours after taking these pain relievers. I have been feeling a little depressed and am anxious about my job and family life. My doctor said I might be getting rebound headaches from taking too many pain relievers and that I also could be depressed. She thinks I should try taking an antidepressant for awhile and has recommended that I talk to a counselor to work through a few issues I'm facing. I think I will take her advice and see if I can get these headaches under control.

Leslie, age 14 : I have had a lot of changes in my life recently. I started getting headaches around the time we moved to a new town. My mom thinks they are related to stress and will go away when I feel comfortable at my new home and school. Sometimes I need to take an ibuprofen for the headache, but not always. I am learning how to do relaxation exercises at a class I'm taking, and this seems to help. My parents talked about it and decided to wait for a month to see if the headaches go away before taking me to the doctor.

Jennifer, age 35 : I have been getting tension headaches for more than 7 months. I decided to start keeping a diary of how often I get them to try to identify any triggers. So far, it looks like I get headaches around 20 days out of every month, but I'm not sure why. While I don't miss a lot of time away from work, I do think my productivity is suffering. I've tried biofeedback to see if I could reduce stress, but that hasn't helped. My doctor thinks it is time for me to try an antidepressant to prevent tension headaches from occurring. I think I'll give that a try.

Author Monica Rhodes
Editor Kathleen M. Ariss, MS
Associate Editor Pat Truman, MATC
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Colin Chalk, MD, CM, FRCPC - Neurology
Last Updated July 30, 2007

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: July 30, 2007
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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