Headaches inflict their misery in a variety of ways, from a dull, steady ache to a blinding, throbbing pain. Nearly everyone has them at least occasionally, but an unfortunate few experience near-constant head pain. Yet no matter how mild or severe your headaches are, many effective strategies relieve and even prevent headaches. This report offers in-depth information on the most common kinds of headaches and the treatment strategies that work best for each, including a number of self-help and alternative techniques, such as acupuncture, which has garnered more credibility in recent years as a way to avert recurring headaches.
This report also explores a variety of preventive strategies, 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 — for example, 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.
Prepared by the editors of Harvard Health Publications in collaboration with Egilius L.H. Speirings, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Clinical Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School.