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Headaches: Seven Tips for Treating Them

Headaches are one of the most common problems that people deal with today. As a result, numerous types of treatments and medications are available to help get rid of or at least shorten a headache. Treatments can vary from something as simple as taking over-the-counter pain medication to more complex procedures such as surgery.

When you need medical care for a headache right away, you can go to an urgent care center instead of waiting for hours in the emergency room. Some urgent care centers are open 24 hours a day or have evening and weekend hours.

The following is a list of eight different ways to treat headaches:

1. Take an over the counter medication such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen

The first treatment is to take an over-the-counter medication such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. This one is by far the easiest. You can get this medicine in a drugstore, grocery store, or just about anywhere else. You may have to ask for it from a pharmacist if you don’t see it out on display, but that should be easy enough because they’re all trained in helping people find what they need for different types of medicines and treatments.

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil) are popular pain relievers that can help alleviate headaches. Over-the-counter medications like these are commonly used by most people who suffer from headaches. You can sometimes get other types of non-prescription pain relievers as well, such as aspirin.

2. Apply heat or cold packs  to the area where the headache is occurring

The next thing you can do is to apply heat or cold packs to the area where your headache is occurring. This type of treatment works well for people who experience tension headaches.

A lot of times, when people get a headache, they immediately grab an ice pack and place it on the area where they’re experiencing pain. It’s much less likely that someone will grab a hot water bottle or heating pad because it isn’t as common to just put something hot on your head when you have a headache. If you’re not sure what kind of treatment would be best for you, give both hot and cold packs a try and see which one feels better against your skin. You might find that relief comes quicker with either heat or cold.

3. Take certain medications such as sumatriptan for migraines

Another type of treatment for headaches is to take certain medications. Specifically, you can take sumatriptan (Imitrex), a medicine designed to help people who experience migraines get relief from their headache pain. Your doctor can prescribe this medication or order it for you over-the-counter, but only if they feel that’s the right type of treatment for you. It’s important to note that sumatriptan (Imitrex) is different than acetaminophen (Tylenol). Migraine sufferers are usually prescribed sumatriptan because it works much better when treating headaches caused by blood vessel swelling in the brain, also as migraines.

4. Use Botox injections

Another type of treatment for headaches is to use Botox injections. This medicine is considered the safest when it comes to getting rid of chronic or episodic migraines, so your doctor can inject it right into the muscles in your head and neck. Botox injections are so effective at treating headaches because they target specific nerves involved in causing painful muscle contractions that lead to a migraine attack.

5. Use acupuncture

The next headache treatment you can try is to use acupuncture. This type of treatment involves placing very thin needles along certain meridians in your body and allowing them to sit there for a few minutes at a time. The idea behind this approach is that the needles will target various pressure points, leading to pain relief. One notable thing about acupuncture treatments compared to other types of medical care is that the chances of having any sort of side effects are next to zero and any adverse reactions such as blood clotting or heart problems.

6. Use spinal injections or brain surgery to treat the problem

Another type of treatment for headaches is to use spinal injections, also known as epidural injections. This procedure involves placing a needle between the skin and bones that make up your spine to administer pain medication directly into the area where you’re feeling pain. When it comes to back pain, this method can help relieve what’s causing the problem without needing to take strong prescription drugs like opioids (Vicodin) which come with all sorts of negative side effects.

One other option you have when seeking relief from chronic or episodic migraines is brain surgery. A neurosurgeon will drill holes into your skull to precisely place electrodes on different parts of your brain involved in your migraine attacks.

7. Change your diet or exercise habits to decrease headaches

The final headache treatment you can try is changing your diet or exercise habits. For example, if you eat a lot of red meat, processed food, and simple carbs like white bread and pasta, then stop doing that because it will make migraine attacks more likely to happen when compared to people who eat mostly fruits and vegetables without too many simple carbs in their system.

The type of headache you are dealing with will determine which treatment is best for you. For example, if you are experiencing a migraine, medication is probably one of your better options rather than something like heat or cold packs. Headaches can come and go throughout life. At certain times, they may get worse than others. But taking action to figure out how to prevent them from occurring or lessen their severity can help lead to better overall health.