have headaches triggered by bending, coughing or exertion
have headaches that keep getting worse
have severe vomiting with the headache
had the first headache after age 50
awaken with headache that gets better as the day goes on
There are many different treatments for tension headaches, which respond well to both medication and massage. If these headaches become chronic, however, they are best treated by identifying the source of tension and stress and reducing or eliminating it.
Tension headaches usually respond very well to such over-the-counter medicines as aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen. However, some of these drugs (especially those that contain caffeine) may trigger rebound headaches if discontinued after they are taken for more than a few days.
More severe tension headaches may require combination medications, including a mild sedative such as butalbital; these should be used sparingly, though. Chronic tension headaches may respond to low-dose amitriptyline taken at night.
Carol A. Turkington, The Gale Group Inc., Gale, Detroit,