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Rather than only treating the symptoms, identify the triggers.   2013-04-14

Initial First Aid

  1. There are many over the counter medications for headaches Paracetamol and Ibuprofen are just two types that can be used to help reduce pain from headaches. Seek medical advice before taking any medication if you are currently taking any other medication or you suffer from any medical condition such as Asthma or Renal problems.
  2. Some pain relief products for headaches also contain caffeine and/or codeine or may interfere with other medication you might be taking. Consult the pharmacist about which product is best for you.

Go to the doctor if:
  • the headache is triggered by exercise or a change in posture
  • the headache is triggered by a cough or a sneeze
  • the headache starts abruptly or is frequent or persistent.
  • the headache worsens with time or is combined with a fever.
  • the headache wakes you up at night.
  • you develop a headache after a head injury or other trauma.
  • you have other symptoms such as confusion, dizziness, fever, vomiting, shortness of breath, slurred speech, vision loss, loss of sensation, or stiff neck.
Non-medical treatment

Keep a record of all possible triggers such as:

  • what you ate or drank and when.
  • tension or stress.
  • weather.
  • lifestyle, e.g. lack of sleep.
  • details of menstrual cycle.
  • environmental factors.
  • timing of the attacks. Do the attacks come on during working days? In the evening? During the weekend? Did you have a beer with friends after work after a long or stressful day?

Carefully research all possible triggers and try to identify a pattern. With time you will be able to narrow the list by eliminating some of them.

Do not:
  • Take pain relief medication for more than 3 days in a row. Overuse can make your body experience withdrawal symptoms after the pain wears off.
  • Always read the leaflet to ensure that you don’t take the medication for longer than is recommended as overuse may have serious side effects.
  • If the medication does not relieve your headache or if it occurs on a regular basis, consult a doctor.