Headache Treatment – Are Acetaminophen or Aspirin all there is?

Headaches are common and Acetaminophen or Aspirin are usually the headache treatment of choice. But if your headaches have a serious cause you should know what to do …

Treating Headaches and Headache Treatment

Headaches don’t usually represent a serious illness.

But even if headaches don’t have any serious medical cause they can still be painful enough to disrupt your day to day life.

Although headaches are very common, they can still be a sign of serious illness and warrant immediate medical attention.

Go to an emergency department for headache treatment if any of the following symptoms occur.

  • Severe pain, pain that develops very rapidly, a change in concentration or your ability to think
  • A change in your level of alertness, altered speech, weakness, numbness, or difficulty walking.
  • Changes in vision or if light hurts your eyes, a headache with dizziness, room spinning, or falling to one side.
  • A headache from an injury or blow to the head or a headache with fever over 100.4F or 38C.

Treating Headache Pain …

Headache Treatment - Prescription Medication
Treating a mild headache will usually only ever involve over-the-counter pain medication.

But, there are many different medications marketed for headache treatment and the control of headache pain. Pharmaceutical companies spend millions of dollars each year to advertise their headache treatment products.

However, many special headache remedies are no better than simple acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or aspirin, and somtimes stress relief and a little rest can be more helpful.

Doctors usually recommend over-the-counter pain medications for mild headache. However, if these medications don’t adequately treat your headache, consult a doctor for further advice and recommendations.

Although relatively safe, over-the-counter pain medicines all have potential side effects. Inappropriate use may have serious consequences. So, always read the label and only take the recommended dosage.

Natural or Homeopathic Headache Treament …

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Even prescription pain medicines can be dangerous if taken improperly

Or if used as headache treatment for a headache that is caused by certain diseases (such as bleeding or stroke).

Potential problems include overdose, overuse, cross-reactions with other medications (especially with blood thinners), and toxic effects on various organs (especially your liver).

Acetaminophen – Headache Treatment

Tylenol Acetaminophen Headache TreatmentAcetaminophen (brand names include Tylenol, Aspirin Free Anacin, and Feverall, for example) is a safe and very effective pain reliever and should be considered the first-line of defense and initial headache treatment.

Although acetaminophen has few cross-reactions with other medications, avoid taking with alcohol and sleeping medicines (barbiturates and benzodiazepines such as Valium).

If acetaminophen alone is inadequate, some people report that the addition of caffeine to the acetaminophen provides more relief from pain (examples include Excedrin and Aspirin-Free) and is a reasonable choice for those people who can tolerate caffeine well.

Drinking a cup of caffeinated coffee with a pain reliever can provide the same caffeine effect. By increasing the production of stomach acid, caffeine helps the body absorb headache medicines more quickly.

Unless advised by a doctor, people with liver diseases such as cirrhosis or hepatitis, and heavy drinkers, should avoid acetaminophen.

Aspirin is another common headache pain reliever

Aspirin Headache TreatmentIts most common side effects are stomach upset and increased risk of bleeding. Aspirin is a type of ‘nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug’. People with stomach ulcers or on blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin) should not take aspirin.

Alcohol use increases the risk of bleeding. Heavy drinkers should not take aspirin because of the risk of bleeding from stomach irritation or ulcer formation. People older than 60 years and those with kidney problems should not take aspirin unless advised by their doctor.

Aspirin is commonly prescribed by doctors after a stroke without bleeding and can prevent another stroke.

Taking aspirin for undiagnosed severe headache treatment may be dangerous. The severe headache could come from a bleeding stroke and taking aspirin may make the bleeding worse.

Naprosyn Headache TreatmentNonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs known as NSAIDs include such medications as ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin), and naproxen sodium (Aleve and Naprosyn are commonly known brand names).

These medications are often used for headache treament, and the side effects are similar to those of aspirin.

It is important not to take aspirin and other NSAIDs together because the side effects are additive meaning they build on each other and become worse than one taken alone.

The same warnings about age, kidney disease, stroke, and alcohol problems apply to other NSAIDs as well as to aspirin.

Homeopathic, herbal and other headache treatment remedies that are untested for safety or not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can be potentially dangerous and are not recommended for headache treatment.

Without FDA regulation there is no control over the quality, dose, or ingredients. Scientific studies that document safety and effectiveness are not required prior to the sale of unregulated products.

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