Recovery & Support for Headache in Adults
NYU Langone doctors closely monitor your response to any medication they’ve prescribed to manage debilitating headaches. The goal is to minimize side effects—like dizziness or tiredness—and ensure optimal pain relief.
In addition to medication, your doctor may recommend other therapies to help alleviate headache pain. These therapies may be used in conjunction with medication or on their own after the completion of medical treatment.
Several types of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin B2 and magnesium, may help to prevent headaches. Your doctor may recommend that vitamins be used in combination with medication or on their own.
NYU Langone neurologists may recommend evidence-based relaxation techniques that can supplement treatment for headache.
Biofeedback involves learning to control bodily functions such as heart rate, and it can lead to decreased perception of head pain. A different technique, progressive muscle relaxation, involves tensing and relaxing particular muscle groups in a systematic way.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
In cognitive behavioral therapy, also called CBT, a person works with a trained psychologist to identify stressful situations and the feelings or behaviors that result. The therapist helps identify different behaviors or coping strategies that can lessen stress and anxiety, which may help to reduce headache episodes.
Your doctor may prescribe physical therapy for the neck and head to prevent tension-type headaches. Physical therapy may include exercises to stretch the muscles of the neck and upper back, which can help to reduce or eliminate headache pain.
NYU Langone physical therapists can help you develop a home exercise program to ease your symptoms and possibly prevent headaches from occurring.
Acupuncture is a painless and effective form of traditional Chinese medicine that can be used to treat migraines and headaches. Recent research has shown that acupuncture can be considered a treatment option for patients who need preventive treatment.
During the procedure, thin needles are placed into the skin at different parts of the body, called acupuncture points, causing the release of proteins, hormones, and brain chemicals that control a number of body functions. The needles are left in place for several minutes while you relax. There is minimal risk involved with the procedure, though some people may experience slight bleeding or bruising.
Acupuncture for all people with headaches is offered by our headache specialists at the Preston Robert Tisch Center for Men’s Health. It can take six to eight sessions to see a decrease in headache frequency and severity. These sessions can take place several times a week to every other week, and typically last 30 to 45 minutes.
People whose headache and migraine symptoms are unresponsive to medication may benefit by participating in clinical trials investigating other treatment options. During clinical trials, new medications are evaluated in strict, scientifically controlled settings. Such research studies are required for regulatory approval of these therapies.
NYU Langone neurologists often participate in clinical trials. They can guide you through the enrollment process and help you to determine if a clinical trial is a good option for you.