Tension headaches respond to common over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. However, don't fall into the trap of taking too much for your headache because that can backfire and lead to what's called a "rebound headache". The National Headache Foundation says the overuse of over-the-counter pills as a leading cause of chronic daily headaches.
Dr. Susan Broner, M.D., says, "These have serious implications, and just because they're over-the-counter doesn't necessarily mean they're benign. Frequent use, meaning two days per week or more on a regular basis, seems to affect brain chemistry, such that people start getting more and more frequent headaches".
Dr. Broner says that over-the-counter meds are fine for occasional use. However, she says that if you find yourself buying the industrial-size bottles of pain relievers so that you'll be sure to have enough on hand, it's a good sign that you need to talk to your doctor about it.