Skip to Content
Home > Patients & Visitors > Health Library > Headaches: Managing a Headache
You can reduce how many
headaches you get and how bad they are when you do get them. Try
Taking medicines and reducing stress can help you treat and prevent migraines and
When my tension headache begins,
I may be able to keep symptoms from getting worse with stress
relief. And if the headache does not get better, I can
take medicines to better manage my
Reducing stress may stop a tension
headache when it is starting, especially if it is linked to stress or anxiety.
Taking medicines can stop your headache if it gets worse.
Continue to Why?
treatment may keep your headache from getting worse and
may help you feel better sooner. This is especially true if you have migraine headaches. You will miss less work
or school, and you may improve the quality of your
Treating my migraine right away can improve the
quality of my life.
Treating your migraine as soon as it begins may
help reduce symptoms. And it may keep your headache from
getting worse or lasting longer. You will miss fewer daily activities and
improve the quality of your life.
Continue to How?
You can try several
things to stop a headache after it starts:
You can do things every day to help prevent headaches:
Other treatments that may
help if you get migraines include:
When I first have signs of a
headache, I should try to ignore it because it might go away.
You may be able to keep your headache from
getting worse by starting stress-relief treatment right away. You
also may want to take medicine right away. The longer you wait to
treat your headache, the more likely it is to get
Lying down in a dark, quiet room with a cold cloth
over my head may be all I need to do to manage a tension
Lying down and placing a cold cloth or ice pack
on your head or face may be all you need to reduce the pain from a
tension headache. But if your doctor has prescribed drugs
to stop a headache from getting worse (such as a triptan for migraines), you
should always follow your doctor's instructions and take your medicine as soon
as the headache begins.
Continue to Where?
Now that you have read this
information, you are ready to start managing your headaches.
If you have questions about
this information, print it out and take it with you when
you visit your doctor. You may want to use a highlighter to mark
areas or make notes in the margins of pages where you have questions.
headache diary with you when you visit your doctor. Be sure to let him or her
know if you have any change in your symptoms.
Talk with your doctor about the best way to manage your headaches.
Return to topic:
Linde K, et al. (2009). Acupuncture for
tension-type headache. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (1).
Lipton RB, et al. (2004). Petasites hybridus root (butterbur) is an effective preventive treatment for
migraine. Neurology, 63(12): 2240–2244.
Pittler MH, Ernst E (2004). Feverfew for preventing
migraine. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
Evans RW, Taylor FR (2006). "Natural" or alternative
medications for migraine prevention. Headache, 46(6):
Sándor PS, et al. (2005). Efficacy of coenzyme Q10 in
migraine prophylaxis: A randomized controlled trial. Neurology, 64(4): 713–715.
May 16, 2012
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Colin Chalk, MD, CM, FRCPC - Neurology
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2013 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.
Send Us Your Feedback
North Kansas City Hospital.