Treatments for Headaches
Treatment plans for headaches are important towards reducing pain and even preventing headaches from occurring. Many types of treatments are available and they can be divided into three groups:
- Home remedies
What are the conventional headache treatments?
According to Stanford Healthcare, medicinal methods used to treat headaches depend on your diagnosis. This means that the type of headache you have plays an important role in figuring out what the best medications may be. The medications can be preventative, or provide pain relief. Here are some of the suggested medications for the most common headache types:
- Triptans such as eletriptan (Relpax) and naratriptan (Amerge)
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) which include Ibuprofen and Naproxen
- Ditans such as lasmiditan (Reyvow)
- Gepants such as rimegepant (Nurtec) and ubrogepant (Ubrelvy)
- Medications that treat migraine triggers such as antidepressants, blood pressure drugs, and seizure drugs
- Acetaminophens such as Tylenol
- Ibuprofen such as Advil or Motrin
- Naproxen such as Aleve
- Triptans, especially taken in shot form
- Lidocaine as a nasal spray
- Preventative medicines such as blood pressure drugs or a steroid like prednisone
Be aware that two patients describing the same symptoms may not benefit from the same medications. Since each person can react differently to medications and have varying symptoms, it is best to consult with a doctor for proper diagnosis of your headache type and to decide which medications may be right for you. Finding the perfect treatment may be a trial and error process as well, so don’t be discouraged if something doesn’t work the first time around.
What are the alternative headache treatments?
Many patients find relief from headaches with unconventional treatments. These methods do not always eliminate headaches completely, but they can alleviate pain, discomfort and psychological tensions. Similar to medications, the effectiveness of such methods varies per individual. Popular alternative treatments include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Biofeedback and relaxation therapy
Home remedies become handy for a variety of reasons. They can be used when patients haven’t been able to see a doctor, don’t have access to medications or alternative treatments, or are simply needing to supplement their current treatment plan with additional methods of relief. Knowing your triggers or what causes your headaches is extremely useful when it comes to home remedies, so be sure to keep a headache diary. Below are some common home remedies:
- Resting in a dark, quiet room
- Staying hydrated with water
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and salty foods
- Hot compress on neck and upper back or warm baths
- Cold compress on the forehead
- Lifestyle changes to reduce stress
- Get adequate sleep, take a nap
- Take vitamins
- Yoga or light exercise
If you suffer from headaches, you shouldn’t take them lightly. To find the right treatment plan, it’s best to speak with a doctor about your specific problems and symptoms. A visit to a neurologist, correct diagnosis, and selection of the right treatment method will help you overcome headaches and improve your quality of life.