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That throbbing, squeezing, unrelenting pain in your head can drive you to distraction. It can get in the way of your work or play—and in the case of a migraine it can lead to nausea and vomiting.

Background: a little heads-up on your head

There are actually about 150 types of headaches, each with its own unique symptoms, triggers and treatments. There are tension headaches, migraines, cluster headaches, sinus headaches, acute headaches, hormone headaches, post-trauma headaches, chronic progressive headaches and more. Ice-cream headaches even make the list.

A very important note about headaches

Headaches are nothing to laugh at; they can be a symptom of a serious condition, such as a stroke, meningitis or encephalitis, so it’s important to see a doctor immediately if:

  • your headache is more painful and disruptive than previous headaches
  • worsens or fails to improve with medication
  • is accompanied by other symptoms such as confusion, fever, sensory changes, and stiffness in the neck

Pain relief starts here

The most common way to get rid of a headache is to rest in a dark quiet place and use an over-the-counter pain relief medication. You can also try:

  • applying a heat or ice pack to your head or neck
  • drinking a little caffeine
  • taking a hot shower or bath
  • gently and steadily apply rotating pressure to the painful area of your head with your index finger or thumb
  • going for a walk
  • eating regular meals to avoid blood sugar drops
  • avoiding stress when possible

Our best headache relief tip

If you suffer from headaches often, have had a headache for a few days or have recurring headaches, it is important to figure out what type of headache is causing your pain. The key to figuring that out is making an appointment with your doctor. If you know what type of headache you are having, then you can treat it correctly.

Most headaches can be diagnosed without tests; however, your doctor may order a head MRI or CT, or a lumbar puncture to help diagnose and evaluate your condition.

If your headache does not have a serious underlying cause, your doctor may try to identify what is “triggering” your headaches and recommend preventive medication or lifestyle changes to manage your symptoms.

Are you looking for a doctor or do you need an appointment?

Consider signing up for CarePlus—a free concierge healthcare service. When you sign up for CarePlus our team will help you:

  • find the right doctor
  • get appointments quickly
  • get faster access to your medical information—like lab results
  • obtain referrals to specialists and the pre-authorizations you may need
  • get your insurance questions answered