What if treatment doesn’t work?

There are many different ways to address headaches. When you start a treatment program, keep track of your results. A headache log can help you measure progress.

Ask yourself:

  • Are my headaches less frequent?
  • Are they less severe?
  • Do they go away faster?

If you don’t notice an improvement, talk to your doctor at the next follow-up exam. You may need to try something new.

When should I see my healthcare provider?

Most of the time headaches, although painful, don’t pose a serious threat. However, headaches can sometimes be a symptom of a life-threatening condition. Signs you should seek immediate medical care include:

  • Confusion or slurred speech.
  • Fever.
  • Headache after head injury.
  • Severe headache that comes on suddenly or headache that doesn’t go away.
  • Seizures or loss of consciousness.
  • Multiple headaches in children.
  • Stiff neck, or pain in the ear or eye.
  • Weakness or numbness.

Are there any headache remedies I can try at home?

You can treat the occasional, mild headache at home with over-the-counter pain relievers. Other self-care treatments for headaches include:

  • Applying heat or cold packs to your head.
  • Doing stretching exercises.
  • Massaging your head, neck or back.
  • Resting in a dark and quiet room.
  • Taking a walk.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

The good news for headache sufferers is that you can choose from many kinds of treatment. If your first treatment plan doesn’t work, don’t give up. Your healthcare provider can recommend other treatments or strategies to find the right fix for you.

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