Headache treatment depends largely on determining the cause of the headache. Tension headaches can usually be treated by the use of over-the counter pain relievers such as Tylenol, ibuprofen, or even aspirin. When tension or stress is the cause, nondrug options may include massage to relieve muscle tension, yoga and other forms of exercise, and working less when possible.
The treatment of migraine headaches is somewhat more involved and may involve a number of different approaches to the pain. (Please see the topic covered under "Migraine Headaches"). Cluster headaches, because of their more severe nature, require the attention of a doctor who can prescribe proper treatments, usually medications.
Since it is brief, the vision loss of ocular migraines is not usually treated. But you may need relief for the headache that accompanies or follows it.
The primary treatment for ocular migraines is to reduce exposure to triggers. Calcium-channel blockers are the main drug treatment for ocular migraines. They work by relaxing the blood vessels. One example is Cardene, which can be given as a pill or as a tab you put under the tongue.
It is important to note that some headaches may return after the regular use of strong pain-relieving medications. These headaches are known as medication overuse, or "rebound" headaches, since they occur when the pain reliever wears off.
SOURCES: Buchholz, D., "Heal Your Headache: The 1-2-3 Program for Taking Charge of Your Pain," Workman Publishing Company, 2002. Livingstone, I., Novak, D.; "Breaking the Headache Cycle: A Proven Program for Treating and Preventing Recurring Headaches," Novak Owl Books, 2004. Smith T. Drugs; 2004.
Young, W., "Migraine and other Headaches," Demos Medical Publishing, 2004. Cady R., "Sinus headache: a neurology, otolaryngology, allergy, and primary care consensus on diagnosis and treatment," Mayo Clinic Proceedings, July 2005.
Richard Senelick, MD on February 07, 2015