headache remedies?

I get migraine-type headaches sometimes–bad pain on one side, nausea–and take ibuprofen for it. This usually helps, but the problem is I have to take 3-5 tablets before the pain starts to go away, sometimes more to kill it completely, and I’m concerned about taking that much ibu on a regular basis, given that it can cause stomach problems. I’m reluctant to go to prescription meds, because the headaches are not so severe as to be debilitating and I’ve heard they cause major drowsiness. I’ve heard feverfew recommended as a treatment; does anyone have any experience with this or any other natural/herbal headache remedies?

The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between the lightning and the lightning bug.
Mark Twain

I new a guy who’s a nurse at a pretty well known headache clinic here. He’s the one that does trials. He said that OTC headache remedies aren’t usually effective against true migranes. Thus you may want to look into prescriptions.

Migranes are weird. About 10 years ago I started seeing spots and I saw flashes of light so I went to the eye doctor. They thought I had a detached retna. I didn’t. After a series of test my doctor said. “Are you sure you’re not having a migrane.” (apparently spots and seeing flashing lights are symptoms of migrane) I was like “I oughtta know if I’m having a headache.” Well after it didn’t get better he gave me some prescription for Midril(??) and lo and behold in a couple of weeks the flashing stopped and never came back.

Go figure huh?

Ibuprofen is also not tremendously kind to one’s liver and kidneys, especially in the dosages you’re taking. I’ll guess you’re taking 200 mg tablets, which means that taking 3 tablets (600 mg) would put you at the normal prescription dosage, and taking 5 tablets (1,000 mg) is just plain ill-advised without a doctor’s supervision.

I’m not a medical doctor, but I think you ought to slow down on the self-medication and hie thee to the nearest medical folks sometime soon. Often they have simpler remedies than poisoning oneself.
Dr. Watson
“Ibuprofen: Possible Adverse Effects: Headache.” – James W. Long, M.D. Essential Guide To Prescription Drugs

I suffer from migraines and don’t know of any non-prescription medicine other than Excedrin. If I feel a headache/migraine coming on, I take a couple of those and it really helps.

Once (If?) the migraines starts only an Imitrex tablet and 3 Advil will make it go away.

“Someone’s boring me. I think it’s me.”

I’m a self-admitted medical coward who once developed (no joke) a really nasty Excedrin habit. An obscure vision problem caused clanging headaches that I subdued with Excedrin–and yes, that stuff is the absolute best for headaches.

I got the vision thing fixed, but the caffeine load in the Excedrin quite literally packed its own problem. “Rebound headaches” are real: the more OTC headache remedies you take, the more headaches you get. Quite lucrative for the drug manufactureres, but quite literally damaging for you.

After some conversation with my regular doc (a WONDERFUL doctor, who listens), I read up more and stopped the insanity. Hey, I used to chug 2 Excedrin every morning; took at least 8 per day.

The caffeine withdrawal wasn’t fun–but it wasn’t all that bad either. TELL YOUR DOCTOR!
If he/she doesn’t listen, get another doctor. Feeling lousy is not natural! Find out the underlying problem, and get help in healing that.

Sorry for this long drone, but I was a total idiot about this. Don’t dismiss, self-diagnose and self-medicate.

Hope you not only feel better but GET better soon.


One ibuprofen plus one sudafed sometimes does it for me. I don’t know if that’s because my migraines are sinus-related, or if there’s some other reason.

The kid started having migraines last summer, and we think we traced it to the french bread she was eating for breakfast at summer camp. It was frozen prefab stuff that they microwaved, and I theorized that it had MSG in it. I never checked that out, because she quit eating it, and the headaches stopped. They were classic, light-flashing, lie-down-in-a-dark-room migraines. There’s lots of information on the net about possible causes of migraines. Maybe there’s some food item you could easily avoid and the headaches would stop.

I suspect my premenstrual migraines would stop if I didn’t eat chocolate but I’m not sure I’m willing to give it up.

A certain fish I know suggests squeezing the fleshy/meaty part of your hand. You know, between your thumb and index finger.

“Organs gross me out. That’s organs, not orgasms.”
-the wallster

That has never worked for me, but my father-in-law swears by that. You have to squeeze pretty hard (to the point where it’s painful) in a certain spot between your thumb and index finger, not just anywhere in there. I think it’s up close to where the bones related to each digit meet, but I am unsure.

Geobabe… the next time you get one of these headaches, you should think back to everything you have eaten or drank during the previous 12 hours. Write it down. Then do the same thing every time you get one of these headaches. Start looking for an item on your list showing up in every list you make. This is to rule out or discover a food allergy.

I had a headache (a really bad one) almost every day from about fith grade to about eighth grade. It was miserable. My parents took me to a whole mess of doctors, with none of them being able to help. Too bad none of these doctors were (or suggested we see) an allergy doctor. One day, my father read an article about food allergies causing chronic problems in people without them realizing what was happening, and how to identify if this was happening to you. Sure enough, as soon as I stoped eating eggs (which I had for breakfast almost every day), the headaches vanished.

So, if it is this simple for you, you could prevent the headaches in the first place, thus making the “best cure” a moot point.

Either way, good luck. Headaches are no fun.

Things are random only insofar as we don’t understand them.

I suffered from PMS and Stress ( same thing) migraines for years before I finally went to the doctor to get some RX.

I was delibiated one to two days a month ( not in a row) with migraines and it wasn’t until I went on a trip overseas that cooincided with my period and puked the entire flight that made me go, " Yeah, this is really fun.Maybe I should get help. " I did and I literally took back those days that I use to be flat on my back with a pillow over my head wishing for death.

From * PDR Family Guide to Medicine *
Migraines are severe, throbbing headaches that result from the contraction and expansion of cranial arteries. We don’t know what causes migraines, but we do know that they afflict about 10 percent of the population and tend to run in families, and are more prevalent in women.

Migraines are characterized by intense localized throbbing that usually spreads. Migraines are often preceded by changes in vision ( a flashing blind spot as an example), pins and needles on one side of the body, speech impairment. They can some times be accompanied by naseau , vomiting, loss of appetite and sensitivity to light. Sometimes migraines are a sympton of the onset to menopause.

The best treatment for migraines is a shot of the new drug Imitrex taken under the skin or , if Imitrex cannot be taken, the older drug *ergotamine * )Cafergot, Bellergal-s) taken alone or with caffeine."
I have a list somewhere around here of foods and things to avoid if you are headache/migraine sensitive. I shall see if I can find it. Avoiding trigger foods is key to a happy brain.

Thanks to all who have responded so far. I think I need to supply some clarification here, however.

The headaches I get can be classified as “common” migraine vice “classic” migraine, that is, I get the headache and other symptoms but not the neurological ones–aura, etc. I have talked to several health care professionals about it and have concluded that they are really not severe enough for prescription meds. I can still function, I’m just miserable.

My headaches are usually stress and hormone related. I haven’t ruled out food triggers, but those two are the most likely culprits.

I’ve done lots of reading on this and I know what the books say. So, what I’m looking for here is experience with different remedies. Feverfew is the one I’m most interested in hearing about, but other offerings are certainly welcome.


TV Reporter: Can you destroy the earth?
The Tick: I hope not. That’s where I keep all my stuff!

Geo - sounds familiar… I don’t really know what causes mine, even after keeping a pretty detailed diary for a while. (Except alcohol - no brainer there.) And I didn’t do anything for a long time because they were so “mild”. As in, I can function, but it’s irritating and after hours of it I get cranky and really tired of the sheer persistance. I didn’t do anything until the frequency started to be ridiculous.

I tried acupuncture - the frequency decreased, but since I was also cutting back on alcohol and taking care of stress, I can’t say that it was the factor that helped. After I quit a stressful job, they became more obviously associated with my menstrual cycle. I believe they’re “menstrually associated migraines”. I have been taking both St John’s Wort for depression and Vitex (chaste tree berry extract) for over a year. The Vitex is supposed to help even out the abrupt peaks and valleys in your estrogen level, and the headaches have indeed become less painful and less frequent. I’m also exercising regularly, which helps.

I guess the conclusion I’ve come to is that there are such an infinite number of triggers that I am basically focussing on treatment. Which means prescription meds. Imitrex - if I don’t let it go until it’s been hurting for hours - will kill it, and for me has no adverse effects. I realize this isn’t exactly what you’re looking for. But I got tired of putting up with that ongoing, low-level pain. It can have some long-term effects on your well-being (or at least on mine).

As a side note, I just started PT for an old back injury, and the physical therapist says that he thinks my headaches are actually due to musculoskeletal(sp) issues. He bases this on the combination of jaw and upper neck problems and the presence of headaches. This does not explain why I get them like clockwork the day my period starts. But I’ll try just about anything.

“I want to be the ferret in the pants of the government!” Unca Duke for Prez '00

Geobabe…I get Killer headaches that I always thought were migraines.I saw a doctor,it turns out they are sinus headaches.I take two tylenol sinus and two aspirin.Works wonders.
Also…something weird.Maybe a blood sugar problem.If I get a headache,sometimes eating chocolate helps alleviate the pain.

Take two Hersheys kisses and call me in the morning.

Rich “G7SUBS”

I get wierd migranes. At least, I call them migranes, but the headache really isn’t the worst part. The nausia and vomiting is. And wierd sinus stuff. Usually there will be a neck muscle inflamed and painful. I’ve found that the only thing that helps is sleep. If I can ignore the pain and sleep (and if I do fall asleep, I’m dead to the world) I’m better in an hour or two.

So mine are fairly mild. But a strong diffusion of lavendar helps. Seriously. It tastes disgusting, but it helps me. Maybe placebo effect. ::shrug::

A little persistance goes a long way. Announcing:

“I go on guilt trips a couple of time a year. Mom books them for me.” A custom made Wally .sig!

I just took 3 extra strength Excederin to quell MY headache. My reward for raiding the Easter basket (unlimited chocolate is now deadly for me), and a few glasses of wine (hardly worth the trouble of getting loaded any more). The caffeine in the Excederin makes for nasty after effects, but nothing else works, not Ibufrofen, not Tylenol, not Motrin. I have to take it at the very first twinge of pain for it to work at all, and I usually feel better after getting some sleep. I have menstrual migraines, too, but so far none of them have been the type where I have to go lie down in a dark room. I have had the ocular migraines, where you see the lights. I plan to look into feverfew, even though the doctors pooh-pooh it.

Am I right in thinking that you’re going to school in the Happy Valley (Amherst area)? If so and you’re determined to go the herbal route, you might as well go over to Bread and Circus on Rte. 9. They’ve got pretty much all the trendy nostrums, teas, and homeopathic remedies.