Headache - Remedies

Not ready to share? Read other Patient Comments

What is your best headache remedy?

Share your story with others:

MedicineNet appreciates your comment. Your comment may be displayed on the site and will always be published anonymously.Patient Comments FAQs

Enter your Comment

Tell us a bit about your background to make your comments more useful to other MedicineNet users. (Optional)

Screen Name: *

Gender of Patient: Male Female

Age Range of Patient:

I am a: Patient Caregiver

* Screen Name will appear next to the published comment. Please do not include your full name or email address.

By submitting your comment, and other materials (collectively referred to as a "Submission") to MedicineNet, you grant MedicineNet permission to use, copy, transmit, publish, display, edit and modify your Submission in connection with its Web site. MedicineNet will not pay you for your Submission. You represent that you have all rights necessary for MedicineNet to use your Submission as set forth above.

Please keep these guidelines in mind when writing your comment:

  • Please make sure you address the question asked.
  • Due to the overwhelming number of comments received, not all comments will be published.
  • When selecting comments to publish, our staff will choose those that are educational and complement the topic. Please try to stay on topic.
  • Your comment may be edited. We would typically edit comments to make them clearer and more readable. We will remove personal information such as last names, email and web addresses, and other potentially harmful information.
  • We will not notify you if your comment has been published. We suggest that you check back on the topic article regularly.
  • We do not provide medical or healthcare advice, treatment, or diagnosis.

Thank you for participating!

I have read and agree to abide by the MedicineNet Terms and Conditions and the MedicineNet Privacy Policy (required).

To prevent our systems from spam, please complete the following prior to submitting your comment.

Please select the white circle:

How are tension headaches treated?

Tension headaches are painful, and patients may be upset that the diagnosis is "only" a tension headache. Even though it is not life-threatening, a tension headache can make daily activities more difficult to accomplish. Most people successfully treat themselves with over-thecounter (OTC) pain medications to control tension headaches. The following work well for most people:

  • aspirin,
  • ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil),
  • acetaminophen (Tylenol, Panadol) and
  • naproxen (Aleve).

If these fail, other supportive treatments are available. Recurrent headaches should be a signal to seek medical help. Massage, biofeedback, and stress management can all be used as adjuncts to help with control of tension headaches.

It is important to remember that OTC medications, while safe, are medications and may have side effects and potential interactions with prescription medications. It always is wise to ask a health care professional or pharmacist if one has questions about OTC medications and their use. This is especially important with OTC pain medications, because they are used so frequently.

It is important to read the listing of ingredients in OTC pain medications. Often an OTC medication is a combination of ingredients, and the second or third listed ingredient may have the potential for drug interaction or contraindication based upon a patient's other medical issues For example:

  • Some OTC medications include caffeine, which may trigger rapid heartbeats in some patients.
  • In night time preparations, diphenhydramine (Benadryl) may be added. This may cause sedation, and driving or using heavy machinery may not be appropriate when taking a sedative medication.
  • Some OTC cold medications have pseudoephedrine mixed in with the pain medication. This drug can cause elevated blood pressure and palpitations.

Other examples where caution should be used include the following:

  • Aspirin should not be used in children and teenagers because of the risk of Reye's Syndrome, a life threatening complication that may occur when a viral infection is present and aspirin is taken.
  • Aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen are anti-inflmmatory medications that can be irritating to the stomach and may cause intestinal bleeding. They should be used with caution in patients who have peptic ulcer disease.
  • Most anti-inflammatory medicines also cause the potential for bleeding elsewhere in the body and should not be taken by patients who also take blood thinners without discussing the risks and benefits with their health care professional. Blood thinners include warfarin (Coumadin), heparin (Lovenox), dabigatran (Pradaxa), apixaban (Eliquis), rivoroxaban (Xarelto), edoxaban (Savaysa), clopidogrel bisulfate (Plavix), ticagrelor (Brilinta), and prasugrel (Effient).
  • Overuse of aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen also may cause kidney damage.
  • Acetaminophen, if used in amounts greater than recommended, can cause liver damage or failure. It also should be used with caution in patients who drink significant amounts of alcohol or who have liver disease because even lesser doses than are normally recommended may be dangerous.
  • One cause of chronic tension headaches is overuse of medications for pain. When pain medications are used for a prolonged period of time, headaches may recur because the effects of the medication wear off. (This "rebound" headache is classified as a secondary headache.)
Return to Headache

See what others are saying

Comment from: Dani, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: December 18

I got headaches every two weeks at least for more than twenty years. My best medicine is Advil the regular one. Sometimes the pain stays for two days. But Advil is my best medicine. It works.

Was this comment helpful?Yes
Comment from: Sheba, 13-18 Female (Patient) Published: November 17

I am now allergic to every pain medication. I have different allergic reactions to each one; throat closing, blisters, rash, nausea, muscle soreness/weakness, etc. I worry that someday I might need a pain medication in case of surgery, etc. I also have difficulty with some antibiotics and anti-viral medicines. I am also now lactose intolerant, and have just developed IBS (irritable bowel syndrome. I have not had any of these issues until the past year or two.

Was this comment helpful?Yes


Get the latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!