Best for: Headaches that do not respond to other remedies.
How they work: Acetaminophen products, like Tylenol, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), like Aleve and aspirin, decrease inflammation and inhibit chemicals in the brain that produce pain. Experiment to figure out which type works better for you, but use these OTCs only one day a week. Taking them more often than that can cause medication-overuse headaches, says Halpern. To minimize stomach discomfort, take with milk or food.
Keep in mind: For stronger relief, consider a brand that combines an NSAID with caffeine, such as Excedrin. According to the National Headache Foundation, caffeine may help the body absorb the medicine better.