Headache

Headaches inflict their misery in a variety of ways. Some start from a dull, steady ache maybe in the back of the head, maybe on the top of the head or maybe it is just a pain on the left or right side of the head. Others go straight to a blinding, throbbing pain. Nearly everyone has headaches at least now and then, but an unfortunate few experience near-frequent head pain. Common headache types include tension headaches, cluster headaches, rebound headaches, sinus headaches, and migraine.

There are a number of treatment strategies that work best for each type of headache. Aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen do the trick for many people. Others need muscle relaxants or even stronger medicines. Some find relief from self-help and alternative techniques like acupuncture.

Instead of waiting to be blindsided by another sudden or pounding headache, preventive strategies can be taken, such as using stress management, physical therapy, or exercise in tandem with medications. Another aspect of prevention is learning to recognize and change things that may trigger your headaches — like reducing emotional stress, changing your diet, or getting more sleep. Advances in the medical management of headache mean that relief is no longer just possible, but probable. Although some form of head pain will occasionally visit most people, no one should have to live and suffer with headaches.

Headache Articles

Are the new migraine medications working?

Three new medications—erenumab (Aimovig), fremanezumab (Ajovy), and galcanezumab (Emgality)—appear to be helping people with frequent, debilitating migraine headaches. Studies suggest that people taking the new drugs experience about 50% fewer migraine headache days per month, compared with people who aren’t taking the medications. However, clinical trials for the new medications have included relatively few older adults, so it’s not known if older adults might react differently to the medications than younger people. Doctors urge older adults to start out taking the lowest dose possible. (Locked) More »

What could cause my sudden jaw pain?

Sudden jaw pain could be due to several conditions, including an irritated nerve, cluster headache, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, or a sign of cardiovascular disease. Since some of these involve immediate treatment, people should see their doctor to discuss their symptoms. (Locked) More »

When headaches are more than a pain

Everyone experiences the occasional headache, and while most episodes are not serious and can be treated on their own, people should be mindful about signs of the different types of headaches, such as tension, migraine, and cluster, as well as how they are treated, so they can determine if their pain is something more serious that requires medical attention. (Locked) More »

Shorter sleep may cause dehydration

Adults who sleep only six hours per night may have a higher chance of waking up dehydrated, compared with those who sleep longer. Besides getting more sleep, drinking at least one full glass of water upon waking up can help. More »

Is fibromyalgia real?

Fibromyalgia is a misunderstood but real condition that experts believe may be caused when the brain essentially overreacts to external stimuli that would not typically cause pain. More »