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Should I take a painkiller for a headache?

In general, analgesic medications, such as aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen, are poor choices for treating chronic tension-type headaches (CTTH). In fact, these medications may lead to medication-overuse headaches. For particularly painful headache flare-ups, several analgesic doses per week may be appropriately used to provide welcome pain relief.

You should avoid taking narcotics or painkillers for headaches because these can cause worsening headaches or rebound headaches, which are an increase in frequency of headaches. Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen or Naproxen may be helpful in the short term, but should not be taken regularly or with liver or kidney disease. If you need these types of medications more than nine times in a given month, you should consult with a physician, as there are other options to help control headaches.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.