The term headache actually covers a wide spectrum of ailments, from short-lived tension headaches to sinus headaches to full-blown migraines. There are literally hundreds of different medications, relaxation techniques, and medical devices designed to get rid of a headache, but the key is to identify the source of the pain first. A medication designed to get rid of a headache caused by stress, for example, may have little to no effect on a headache triggered by sinus congestion.
One way to get rid of a headache is to take analgesic medications such as aspirin, Ibuprofen, or sodium naproxen. These medications work in different ways to get rid of a headache, however, so it pays to read the label for further advice. Some headache sufferers find that aspirin-type pills augmented with caffeine work very well on tension headaches, since the caffeine restricts the flow of blood through veins. If a person with a dependence on caffeine does not get an adequate supply through caffeinated beverages, he or she might develop a headache from withdrawal.
Another way to get rid of a headache is through self-massage and relaxation. Using acupressure on the source of the pain may cause the muscles to relax. An ice mask placed around the eyes and temples may get rid of a headache caused by sinus pressure or stress. Some headache sufferers may want to try using heat instead of cold, but this could make some types of headaches worse as the blood flow is increased. Simply turning off the lights and lying down for a few minutes might provide some relief from severe tension headaches.
In the case of more serious types of headaches, such as "hatband headaches" or migraines, stronger medications and relaxation techniques may have to be employed. A migraine sufferer may have to find a completely darkened room in order to combat light sensitivity. Prescription pain medications may be more beneficial than taking heavy doses of over-the-counter headache medicines or mixing different types of painkillers.
While finding ways to get rid of a headache may be a sufferer's first line of thought, some types of headaches may indicate more serious medical concerns. Frequent tension headaches could indicate hypertension or high blood pressure. Headaches caused by eyestrain often indicates a need for a thorough eye exam or an adjustment to a current corrective lens prescription. Severe headaches which are not easily alleviated through normal channels may be symptoms of very serious conditions such as brain tumors, blood clots or potential aneurysms. If a headache doesn't improve within a few hours to a day, a more thorough medical examination may be necessary.