The best way to cure a headache is to uncover its root cause and fix the problem. However, here are the best management options in the meantime.
1Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers
Over-the-counter pain relievers are often the first headache management option for tension headaches. Some of the best choices include:
Buying ones that also contain caffeine can enhance the medication’s effect. That may be a better option if you cannot get the plain pain relievers to work.
2Combination Pain Relievers
For severe cluster headaches, some doctors will prescribe a combination of pain relievers and opioid medication. However, these are generally only used when over-the-counter medications are ineffective. In addition, your doctor will be careful when prescribing these because they tend to cause addiction.
If you have frequent or severe tension headaches, your best option is to go to your doctor and see what preventative treatments you can take. For example, antidepressants may be helpful to help with headaches. Amitriptyline, nortriptyline and protriptyline are some of the most common medications used. Your doctor will likely administer these at a much lower dose than if they were trying to treat depression. While unclear how they work, it is possible that low doses can dull pain perception.
If you suffer from cluster headaches, your first option is generally to administer oxygen to yourself for 20 minutes. If this doesn’t work, you’ll need to visit your primary care physician for other treatments for this type of headache.
The following injections may also treat cluster headaches:
- Nerve blocks
A few simple lifestyle changes can drastically reduce the frequency of headaches. These include:
- Quitting smoking
- Lowering your alcohol intake
- Decrease your caffeine consumption
- Eating and sleeping on a healthy schedule
- Exercising regularly
Although these are not clinical changes, they are essential for your health.
Another option for people with various headache types is working with a physical therapist specializing in headache relief. This is an excellent option for people who cannot take medication or do not respond to them.
Acupuncture is the process of inserting tiny needles into various points in the body. It causes no or minimal pain. Sometimes, the acupuncture needles are inserted and then electrically stimulated. This can be a good option if you suffer from medication overuse or cluster headaches. It may also help people suffering from tension or chronic daily headaches who do not respond to other treatments.
Headaches are worsened by stress, anxiety, depression and other psychological conditions. They can also worsen your psychological conditions by causing problems in your relationships, work or school and daily living. Fortunately, behavioral therapies can help you address your psychological needs and, potentially, your headaches. Some of the best options for headaches include:
- Private therapy sessions
- Group therapy sessions
- Classes to help you deal with pain and stress
Your doctor is the best resource for deciding which options are the best for you. However, you can also do some research online. Look for articles written for healthcare providers for the best information. Additionally, make sure the information you read is up to date.