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    Treating Your Own Headaches

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    You don't necessarily need a doctor's prescription to treat your headaches. Here are some ways you can find relief, without medication:

    • Apply an ice pack to the painful area of your head. Try placing it on your forehead, temples, or the back of your neck.
    • Take a warm bath or shower; take a nap; or take a walk.
    • Ask someone to rub your neck and back, or treat yourself to a massage.
    • Apply gentle, steady rotating pressure to the painful area of your head with your index finger and/or thumb. Maintain pressure for seven to 15 seconds, then release. Repeat as needed.
    • Rest, sit, or lie quietly in a low-lit room. Close your eyes and try to release the tension in your back, neck, and shoulders.
    • If you have excessive muscle contractions in the neck, it may be helpful to perform physical therapy exercises every day.

    Recommended Related to Migraines/Headaches

    Alternative Treatments for Tension Headaches

    When a tension headache strikes, most people head for their medicine cabinet or drugstore, looking for an over-the-counter painkiller such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. But if you get them often, that plan can backfire. “Frequent use of these drugs can cause rebound headaches,” says Priyanka Chaudhry, MD of the Baylor Neuroscience Center Headache Center. There can also be side effects, as with any medicine. Taking too much acetaminophen is bad for your liver, and overdoing ibuprofen can upset...

    Read the Alternative Treatments for Tension Headaches article > >

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by William Blahd, MD on July 19, 2014
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