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First Aid & Emergencies

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Migraine Headache Treatment

1. Treat Symptoms

  • Have the person rest in a cool, dark room.
  • Apply a cool compress or ice pack to the painful area.
  • Massage the scalp.
  • Give acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) for pain. Discuss with a doctor which medications would be best if the person has liver or kidney disease or heart failure.

 

2. When to Seek Medical Help

  • See a health care provider if the headache persists or recurs.
  • See a health care provider immediately or go to a hospital emergency room for a headache with stiff neck, fever, vomiting, or numbness or weakness in limbs or if the person has trouble speaking.

3. Follow Up

If you seek medical help:

  • The health care provider will do an exam and may recommend treatment or lifestyle changes to prevent migraines.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Scott Keller, MD on November 17, 2013

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