Almost everyone gets an occasional headache, with its throbbing, pounding or viselike sensation. The list of things that can cause headaches is long, but most common headaches are caused by simple tension. Other kinds of headaches include migraine headaches, cluster headaches and sinus headaches.

Ways to Treat a Tension Headache:

  • Massage your neck muscles, rubbing gently and firmly toward the heart. Massage your temples.
  • Use heat. Apply a heating pad or take a warm shower.
  • Apply a cold pack against your forehead or neck.
  • Lie down in a dark room with a cool cloth on your forehead.
  • Take aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen for pain. But, remember that frequent reliance on headache remedies can make headaches worse.
  • Use relaxation techniques. Close your eyes and focus on slow, deep breathing or do meditation, progressive muscle relaxation or visual- ization. These techniques can also help to prevent future headaches.

Some people get headaches after eating certain foods:

  • Hard cheeses
  • Red wine
  • Caffeine or the lack of caffeine
  • Chocolate
  • Monosodium glutamate
  • Nuts
  • Onions
  • Sour cream
  • Bananas
  • Citrus fruit

Tips to prevent tension headaches:

  • Try to reduce stress in your life. Make a conscious effort to relax your jaw, neck and shoulder muscles, even when you don't have a headache. Massage your temples and neck frequently.
  • Notice your neck and shoulder posture while working and make improvements if necessary.
  • Get some daily exercise.
  • Reduce the amount of caffeine you consume in coffee, tea and cola drinks.
  • Avoid foods that seem to cause headaches.

Call the doctor if:

  • You have severe and sudden headache.
  • You have eye pain.
  • The pain increases when you try to touch your chest with your chin(with your mouth closed).
  • You have a stiff neck, fever, and nausea.
  • There is one-sided weakness, numbness, confusion, or disturbance of speech, vision or coordination -- symptoms that suggest a strok.
  • A blow to the head causes severe pain, enlarged pupils, confusion or vomiting.
  • A severe headache is very different from previous headaches.
  • Headaches begin after age 40.
  • Headaches persist in spite of home treatmeant.
  • There's a fever of 103°F or higher with no other symptons.
  • A child has a headache.