1. Take Pain Medication
- Give ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), aspirin, or acetaminophen (Tylenol) for pain. Avoid ibuprofen and other NSAIDs if the person has heart failure or kidney failure. Do not give aspirinto a child under age 18.
2. Try Self-Care Strategies
- The person should drink plenty of liquids. Dehydration can cause or worsen a headache.
- Apply a cool cloth or ice pack to the forehead, temples, or back of the neck.
- Massage the person’s neck and back to relieve muscle tension.
- Apply gentle, rotating pressure to the painful area of the head.
- Have the person rest or take a warm bath or shower.
3. When to Call a Health Care Provider
Seek medical care immediately for:
- A headache that occurs after a head injury
- A headache that is accompanied by dizziness, speech impairment, confusion, or other neurological symptoms
- A severe headache that comes on suddenly
- A headache that gets worse even after taking pain medications