1. Educate yourself and your family. Read about your type of headache and its treatment.
  2. Maintain a headache diary.
  3. Ask your doctor for written instructions about what to do when you have a headache.
  4. Limit your use of over-the-counter (nonprescription) medications to no more than two doses per week. Excessive use can actually increase headaches.
  5. Follow a regular schedule:
    • Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast
    • Get 8 hours of sleep nightly
    • Learn to identify and avoid headache "triggers." Common triggers include caffeinated foods and beverages (chocolate, teas, colas, coffee), nitrates (luncheon meats, sausage/hot dogs, pepperoni), tyramine (aged cheeses, pizza), other "junk" foods, and Oriental foods containing MSG
    • Minimize stress and other headache triggers
  6. Daily school attendance IS A MUST!
  7. Initiate non-drug measures at the earliest onset of your headache:
    • Seek rest in a cool, dark, quiet, comfortable location
    • Use relaxation strategies and other methods to reduce stress
    • Apply a cold compress
  8. Don’t wait!! Take the maximum allowable dosage of recommended medication(s) at the first sign of a severe headache.
  9. Take prescribed medication regularly, as directed, and maintain regular follow-up visits.
  10. Call your doctor when problems arise.

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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 8/1/2009...#11205