Headache Remedies – Which Over-the-counter Medicine is Best for You?


Headaches can be quite a bummer! They can happen anywhere, anytime, and can ruin a good day! If you’ve read my recent post on What’s Causing Your Headache, chances are, you now know the trigger and type of headache you have. Now, let’s talk about the headache remedies you can take to get rid of that throbbing pain.

Over-the-Counter Headache Remedies

There are a number of headache remedies you can easily buy without a prescription. They’re quite effective for headaches of various causes and can help relieve the pain in 30 minutes to an hour. Let’s get to know which products can help your headache.


Acetaminophen probably the most common over-the-counter pain medication, acetaminophen is available in a wide range of dosage forms and strengths. It’s usually in tablet or capsule form. Additionally, there are also specially-designed tablets that act more rapidly. For children, there are products available in liquid form.

Unlike other pain medications, acetaminophen does not have a tendency to cause stomach upset. You can take it even if you haven’t eaten anything yet. The usual dose for adults is 500 milligrams. When using this medication, take a dose every 4-6 hours as needed for pain.


Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug or NSAID. It effectively relieves fever, pain and inflammation. Like many NSAIDs, it can cause stomach upset if taken on an empty stomach. It’s available as tablets, capsules, and even as liquid-filled capsules. For quick headache relief, liquid-filled capsules are best because they work more rapidly.


Aspirin is effective for headaches and other sorts of body pain. Like ibuprofen, it can also cause stomach pain especially if taken without food.

For headaches, aspirin can be found in combination with other active ingredients like acetaminophen and caffeine. This combination is quite effective in relieving certain types of headaches like migraine and tension headaches.

An important note to remember–don’t use aspirin in children under 14 years of age. In the presence of a viral disease, aspirin can cause a serious condition called Reye’s syndrome. For children, it’s always better to use acetaminophen for lesser chances of side effects.


Naproxen is also and NSAID. This means that it can cause stomach upset as well. A good advantage of taking naproxen though, is that you don’t have to take it as frequently as other pain medicines. Its effects last for about 12 hours, and you may not need to take another dose anymore.

When using pain medications for treating a headache, it’s best not to overmedicate or take medications for lengthy periods. This can cause a rebound headache. Other side effects of pain medications are nausea, vomiting, increased risk of bleeding and changes in liver function.

If your headache persists for a few days, seems to get worse, or is accompanied by other symptoms, it may be a good idea to visit your doctor.

Read more about a Headache in Meddy’s Blog: