Self-care measures for headaches

3 July 2017
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Category: First Aid
3 July 2017, Comments: 0

Most of us experience headaches at some point. Some of these episodes are relatively minor while others can be intense.

How to care for headaches at home

There are some measures that can be used to manage headaches at home without using any medications.

  • Apply an ice pack on the sore area in the head. It can be applied on the forehead, temples or rear of the neck.


    Always follow the prescribed treatment plan. This involves avoidance of medications that were not suggested by the doctor.

  • Take a warm shower or bath
  • Rest by taking a nap
  • Relax, sit or lie silently in a dim-lighted room. The individual should close his/her eyes and relieve the tension in the neck, back and shoulders.
  • Ask someone to rub the back and neck or have a massage
  • Apply mild, continuous rotary pressure on the sore area in the head using your index finger or thumb. Hold the pressure for 7-15 seconds and release. Repeat if needed.
  • Try to stretch and relax the muscles. For individuals who suffer from significant muscle contractions in the neck, physical therapy exercises should be done daily.

Preventive measures

  • Always follow the prescribed treatment plan. This involves avoidance of medications that were not suggested by the doctor.
  • Avoid taking over-the-counter pain medications more than 2 times in a week. Using these medications more often than instructed might worsen the headaches. These are called as rebound headaches. Once the effect of pain medications subsides, a withdrawal reaction arises.
  • Lower emotional stress by getting enough relaxation and time out from stressful situations. The individual should learn relaxation techniques such as deep breathing as well as progressive muscle relaxation.
  • Reduce physical stress by getting enough rest and sleep. When being seated for long periods, it is recommended to move up and stretch regularly.
  • Regular exercise for at least 20 minutes at 3 times in a week. Exercise helps lower stress as well as reduce the frequency of the headaches.

It is also important to eat a well-balanced diet at the same time every day and avoid skipping on meals. In addition, avoid alcoholic beverages and reduce the intake of caffeine.

More Information / Disclaimer

The information posted on this page on headaches is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize and manage headaches by taking a standard first aid course with Toronto First Aid.

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