Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Migraines & Headaches Health Center

Step 1 of 6
Action Set
Headaches: Managing a Headache

You can reduce how many headaches you get and how bad they are when you do get them. Try to:

  • Find and avoid triggers that cause your headaches.
  • Carry your medicine with you so you can treat a headache right away when you feel one starting. This is especially important if you get migraines.
  • Don't take over-the-counter pain relievers more than 3 times a week, because you may get rebound headaches. These headaches usually occur after pain medicine has worn off. This prompts you to take another dose. After a while, you get a headache whenever you stop taking the medicine.
  • Take drugs that cause the fewest side effects, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (for example, aspirin and ibuprofen).
  • Exercise regularly, eat well, and reduce stress.
  • Work with your doctor to find the best treatment for your headaches.

what.gif  What is the best way to treat and prevent headaches?
why.gif Why should you quickly manage your headache?
how.gif How do you manage a headache?
where.gif Where to go from here

Citations

  1. Linde K, et al. (2009). Acupuncture for tension-type headache. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (1).

  2. Lipton RB, et al. (2004). Petasites hybridus root (butterbur) is an effective preventive treatment for migraine. Neurology, 63(12): 2240–2244.

  3. Pittler MH, Ernst E (2004). Feverfew for preventing migraine. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (1).

  4. Evans RW, Taylor FR (2006). "Natural" or alternative medications for migraine prevention. Headache, 46(6): 1012–1018.

  5. Sándor PS, et al. (2005). Efficacy of coenzyme Q10 in migraine prophylaxis: A randomized controlled trial. Neurology, 64(4): 713–715.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Colin Chalk, MD, CM, FRCPC - Neurology
Last Revised May 16, 2012

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 16, 2012
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.

Today on WebMD

woman receiving acupuncture
14 alternative methods for migraine relief.
Woman with migraine headache
Signs it's not a regular headache.
 
headache in the bedroom
Keep headaches from ruining your sex life.
desert heat
12 surprising headache triggers.
 
woman receiving acupuncture
Slideshow
Hands reaching for medicine
Article
 
Migraines Headaches Basics
Article
acupuncture needles in woman's back
Slideshow
 
Hormones Headaches
Articles
healthy lifestyle items
Article
 
Sinusitis
Slideshow
headache in the bedroom
Article
 

Special Sections