A headache can make an hour seem like a week. Try one of the following the next time you have a headache and need relief:

  • Take a non-prescription pain reliever. Be sure to follow the directions on the packaging. If your headache is related to allergies or a cold, ask your doctor to recommend a decongestant.
  • Make sure you are getting enough sleep every night.
  • Get outside and enjoy the fresh air.
  • Take 10 minutes a day for some mild exercise.
  • If possible, take a nap.
  • If the headache seems to be related to tension or stress, try to get away from the source of tension for a while.
  • Lie down with a heating pad on your neck and shoulders, or have someone gently rub the muscles in your neck and shoulders. Applying cold works as well. Instead of ice, try putting a bag of frozen peas on the back of your neck. This may be more effective because you can drape the bag around your neck.

Sometimes headaches indicate serious medical problems. Seek medical attention in any of these situations:

  1. Your headache follows a blow to your head.
  2. Your headache lasts longer than 24 hours and does not respond to pain reliever.
  3. You experience pain so severe that it interrupts your ability to work, care for your family or perform other daily activities.
  4. Your headaches are accompanied by dizziness, clumsiness or vision problems.
  5. Your headaches are increasingly frequent and severe.
  6. You have a headache that is a different type from previous ones you ever have had.
  7. You suddenly have the worst headache you ever have had. (This can be a sign of brain hemorrhaging.)
  8. Your headache is accompanied by a stiff neck and fever. (This can be a sign of meningitis.)