How to Relieve Headaches Without NSAIDs

Posted on February 14, 2020

When your head is throbbing, it’s natural to reach for the bottle of Ibuprofen in search of relief. Tension and even migraine headache sufferers often swear by the benefits of NSAIDs, or Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. These medications are designed to ease inflammation and reduce pain, but they can also bring along unwanted — and even potentially serious — side effects. Recent research has shown that NSAIDs can lead to a small, but real increase in cardiovascular problems, including heart attack and stroke. In people with certain risk factors, they can also cause bleeding, blood pressure, and kidney problems. NSAIDs can also negatively affect your stomach and digestive system. 

If your physician has prescribed you NSAIDs, then it’s important to continue taking them as directed.Your doctor knows your own personal medical history and risk profile.  However, if you aren’t prescribed NSAIDs, there are some alternatives that can often help manage headaches just as well as anti-inflammatories. 

Alternatives to NSAIDs for Headaches

  • Use heat or ice. A heating pad, heat wrap, ice pack, or other device designed for use in hot and cold therapies can also make a difference for headaches. Try placing the device at the nape of your neck or over the part of your head that is aching. Be sure to follow any instructions listed for your device. 
  • Rest. If possible, taking a nap can make a huge difference for your headache. 
  • Dim the lights. Bright lights can make headaches worse, particularly migraine headaches. Close the curtains in your home or don sunglasses if you must be out of the house. 
  • Try a peppermint or aromatherapy. Many people find that popping a peppermint is soothing for headaches. Aromatherapy, too, can sometimes help reduce the intensity of head pain. 
  • Practice relaxation techniques. Stress is a powerful headache contributor. Making time for relaxation will help to prevent stress-induced headaches. Try activities like reading a book, relaxing with a bath, or attending a yoga class.
  • Take preventative methods. As much as you can, take steps to understand your headache triggers. Keeping a headache diary or log can help you see how your lifestyle affects your pain. You can then try to reduce those triggers. For instance, you might need to take breaks from the computer at work or try out eyeglasses that are made to filter blue light. You can try limiting caffeine, minimizing triggering foods like chocolate, getting enough sleep at night, or reducing stress. 
  • Speak with your doctor. Talk with your physician about your headaches, especially if they are new and intense. Your doctor can provide you with  additional remedies and treatments for your pain.

Looking for a Pain Management Center in Jacksonville?

Riverside Pain Physicians is a pain management clinic that specializes in even the most difficult pain management scenarios. We have several locations in Jacksonville to help you manage your pain close to home. Our center for pain management is staffed with experts who have years of experience in the field. Contact us today for more information on how we can help you with your chronic headaches. You can also follow us on Facebook.

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