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How to Get Rid of a Headache Fast

Updated on October 30, 2011

How to Get Rid of a Headache Fast

A headache is never pleasant, and can often be either distracting or truly debilitating. Mostly you just want to get rid of it in order to get on with what you need to do. Sometimes it's so bad that nothing helps. Before reading this article, and before following any of the advice listed below, you must be aware that the headache is usually an indicator that something is not well in your body.

I'm not a medical professional, but am a long-time sufferer of migraines. With this in mind, I'll write on what works for me (and seems to work for most people). Please don't consider this article medical advice beyond the readily available. If you think that there may be a more significant cause to your headache than tension, stress, or something commonplace, please make a point of seeking out a medical professional as soon as possible.

With that in mind, let me show you how to get rid of a headache fast.

First: Check Yourself

First of all, you'll want to check your symptoms. Is the headache accompanied by any other signs? Are you sweating (probably flu or some other infection)? Is it limited to one side of the head and particularily intense (migraine or tension headache)? Were you drinking last night (yes, obviously a hangover. But some people never learn...)?

The link above will lead you to wikipedia, which is a good starting point for determining the source of your headache. You'll want to have a look at that if your headache is atypical in any way.

Strategies for Dealing with Headaches Quickly


The best method of getting rid of a headache is often the simplest. See if a simple, gentle head and neck massage will take care of it. To do this, close your eyes and gently massage the bridge of your nose with two fingers. Make small circles, and slowly move from the bridge of your nose over your forehead to your temples. Gently massage your temples for a few minutes.

Next, use the first three fingers on each hand, and gently massage to either side on the back of your neck, rising, in small circles, from the bottom of the neck to just under your ears.

Repeat as necessary, and make sure to do both steps. Focus longer on areas where you feel the most effect.

This massage is simple, and should help with every kind of headache. Often, simply releasing the tension of the musculature with a gentle massage is enough to reduce the headache or to get rid of it entirely.

Cold Water

If you have a headache and are also feeling slightly tired, splash your face, your forehead, and the back of your neck with cold water. Also run some cold water over the inside of your wrists. This has the effect of calming inflammation and of gently raising your blood pressure, which is a common cause for a headache. It also wakes you up quite nicely.


If the above methods don't work, try calming the headache with a tea. Teas work faster than pills do, as they are absorbed into the body more quickly. They are also usually less damaging. Try drinking a fairly strong chamomile tea, steeped covered for 10-15 minutes, and then pressed. This usually works almost immediately, and also works against stress.


Painkillers should be your last resort. While very useful and generally recognized as safe by medicine, they nevertheless have many unpleasant side effects, and it's very easy to overdo them. Be very wary of taking them, and always, always read the information provided with them.

The three most common painkillers, in order of strength, are:

  • Aspirin
  • Acetaminophen (Paracetamol)
  • Ibuprofen

Aspirin is probably the least harmful of the lot, and also has some beneficial side-effects such as the dilation of arteries and veins. The fastest effect you'll get is from the soluble kind of aspirin. It also has less side effects on your digestive system, and is the kind I'd recommend.

Acetaminophen (Paracetamol) is quite powerful, and is often sold in combination with other medical drugs such as codeine. These combinations will work more quickly than regular paracetamol, but will usually introduce a whole range of new side effects. Once again, soluble versions exist, and are usually faster-acting.

Ibuprofen is curious, since it actually has fewer side effects than the other two, and the side effects are also usually less grave. As a painkiller it is stronger, but needs a longer time to take effect.

The Long-Term

If you get headaches regularly, especially if they're similar in nature, you should definitely see a doctor. As stated previously, headaches are indicative of deeper issues, and need to be checked out. In general, if the headache lasts longer than a few hours or a day, it should be examined.

Hope you feel better soon!


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    • Coeus profile image

      Coeus 6 years ago from All over the world and then some.

      Thanks roanna! Glad I could help.

      Thanks for the kind comment, cmontijo.

    • cmontijo profile image

      cmontijo 6 years ago from Somewhere in the World

      Good information.

    • roanna profile image

      roanna 6 years ago from Virginia

      Great Hub, thanks for advice on using chamomile teas to cure the headaches,I didn't know that that can help!