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Can Tramadol Be Used for Headaches?

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Tramadol is a pain medication popularly prescribed for severe to moderate pain. It may also relieve migraine. The drug is even effective in fibromyalgia cases where the patient experiences musculoskeletal pain.

Can Tramadol treat tension headaches too? As per the research, it cannot.

Tramadol for headaches dosage

The dosage of Tramadol varies from patient to patient. Let the doctor be your guide as Tramadol is not an over-the-counter drug. You need a prescription for it.

Also, never increase or decrease a dose unless the doctor tells you to. The dosage advised in this section is simply an average. Do not use these recommendations as professional medical advice.

How much Tramadol you should take depends on the strength of the medicine. Depending on your problem, the number of doses and the time gap between consecutive doses will vary.

If you are using Tramadol to treat chronic migraine headaches, your dosage should be –

  • For adults – 100 mg (milligrams) once a day. Depending on your condition your doctor might increase the strength gradually, but not over 300 mg a day.
  • For children below the age of 12 Tramadol is not prescribed.
  • For children older than 12 years, the doctor will dictate the right dose.

If you are suffering from moderate to severe pain, your dosage should be –

  • For adults, 25 milligrams (mg) per day. You should take the dose in the morning. Based on your response, the doctor might increase the dose, but never more than 400 mg a day.
  • For adults above the age of 75, 25 mg per day is the recommended dose. The medicine should be taken in the morning. Maximum dosage should not exceed 300 mg a day.
  • For children above 12 years of age, the doctor will recommend the exact dose. Children under the age of 12 are not prescribed Tramadol.

How much Tramadol should I take for a headache?

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Tramadol is not effective in treating tension headaches. It is recommended for headaches related to migraine. In addition to this, Tramadol is a very strong medicine and should not be consumed casually.

Is Tramadol good for tension headaches?

Tramadol tablets for headache

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No, Tramadol is not good for tension headaches.

The interesting thing about Tramadol is that researchers don’t know exactly how the drug reduces pain in the body.

A long term study involving 245 patients over a span of 7 years revealed that Tramadol does not treat tension or stress headaches.

According to the study, 55% of the participants first thought they saw improvement from taking Tramadol. But towards the end of the study only 28% continued with the medicine.

The others stopped using Tramadol because it became less effective with regular use. In addition to this, participants complained of symptoms like fatigue, dizziness and more headache.

However, Tramadol can provide relief to migraine patients according to numerous studies.

What kind of pain is Tramadol prescribed for?

Tramadol belongs to a medicine class called narcotic (opiate) analgesics. It is a very powerful drug which is prescribed for pain relief.

Tramadol changes the manner in which the nervous system and the brain react to pain. Although the exact mechanism is unknown, Tramadol has shown it can relieve pain.

The medicine is more effective in treating moderate to severe pain. Generally, Tramadol is not recommended to treat chronic pain conditions.

Doctors only prescribe this drug when all other non-opiate painkillers have failed. Only patients requiring 24×7 pain relief are given Tramadol in capsule or extended-release tablet forms,

Tramadol/paracetamol for headache

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As mentioned earlier, the combination of Tramadol and paracetamol cannot treat tension headaches in the long term. But these medicines can relieve headaches from migraine.

It is advised to take the medication as soon as you begin to feel pain. According to research, once the pain is in full bloom it is difficult to control it with Tramadol.

The doctor will increase the dosage of Tramadol according to need. Interestingly in the long run, Tramadol loses its effect on pain. Inform your doctor when this happens.

What is the best pain reliever for headaches?

One of the quickest way to relieve a headache is through pain relievers. In fact, many medicines for headaches are available over the counter (OTC). You do not need a prescription for them.

If you decide to take OTC medicines more than two times per week, consult your doctor. You might need preventive headache medications. Long term use of painkillers can worsen headaches.

Here are the best drugs for headache or migraine pain relief –

  • Acetaminophen – Treats both headache and pain. In the long run this medicine could lead to liver damage and blood count changes. Tylenol and Panadol are some popular Acetaminophen brands.
  • Aspirin – Treats both headache and pain. Adults and children under the age of 19 should not use aspirin as it could lead to Reye’s syndrome which is a serious neurological condition.
  • Fenoprofen – Prevents tension headaches, hormonal headaches and migraines from appearing. Common side effects include drowsiness, dizziness, indigestion, diarrhea and nausea.
  • Flurbiprofen – Prevent and treats migraines and tension headaches. Side effects include vision problems, dizziness, drowsiness, ulcers and gastrointestinal upset.
  • Ibuprofen – Treats migraines and tension headaches. Side effects include rash, vomiting, diarrhea, liver damage, gastrointestinal bleeding and gastrointestinal upset.
  • Ketoprofen – Treats migraines and prevents tension headaches.
  • Nabumetone – Prevents migraines and tension headaches.
  • Naproxen – Treats migraines and prevents hormonal headaches and tension headaches.
  • Diclofenac – Treats both tension headaches and migraines. Side effects include loss of appetite, bloating and stomach upset.
  • Metaxalone – Treats headaches. May cause dizziness and nervousness.
  • Methocarbamol – Treats tension headaches. May cause nausea and darkening of urine.

Tramadol for migraines reviews

According to, the most popular independent site for medicine and drugs, Tramadol has an average rating. It has a score of 6.8/10 based on 1742 ratings.

For chronic pain, Tramadol scored 5.7/10, while for pain the drug scored 5.9/10.

According to the reviews, Tramadol is most effective in treating Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (9.7/10), Anxiety (9.3/10), and Depression (9.1/10).

The drug has received some good reviews regarding its effect on migraines.

One user reported that Tramadol almost entirely took their migraine away after a couple of days.

Another user found that Tramadol reduces incidents of panic attacks and depression. This way it also prevents migraines from happening.

However, some users had a bad experience with Tramadol, especially those who were taking the medicine for pain in other body parts.

One user felt like they had a hangover after taking Tramadol the day before. For others, Tramadol led to migraine headaches.

Do doctors prescribe Tramadol for migraines?

As discussed earlier, Tramadol is a very strong opiate. It is only prescribed as a painkiller when other methods are not working.

Therefore, a doctor may not immediately prescribe you with Tramadol for migraine. They will try other safer treatments first.

This will include a combination of lifestyle changes (improving sleep habits, diet etc.) and medications.

There are some effective OTC medicines as well. Take Excedrin for example – it combines caffeine, aspirin and acetaminophen.

Some popular prescription drugs for migraine include Eletriptan (Relpax), Rizatriptan (Maxalt), Zolmitriptan (Zomig) and Sumatriptan (Imitrex).

At the same time, there are medicines like anti-depressants and beta-blockers which can prevent migraines from happening.

There is even an anticonvulsant medicine for seizure that keeps migraines away. But seizure drugs and beta-blockers may have severe side effects, which is why they are a last resort.

What is Tramadol used to treat?

Tramadol is mostly used for moderate to severe pain.

Can Tramadol make headaches worse?

In some cases, yes, Tramadol can make headaches worse.

Firstly, the drug is not recommended for chronic migraine headaches. When used regularly, it leads to a phenomenon called “medication overuse headache”.

If you wish to stop using Tramadol, do not quit cold turkey as withdrawal symptoms can be severe.

Tramadol for Covid headache

Tramadol is generally not advised for tension headaches and chronic headaches. The headache from Covid is caused by the symptoms of sickness like cold, cough and congestion.

To find relief from Covid headache it is best to treat these cold symptoms.

Tramadol injection for migraine

If prescribed for migraine, Tramadol is usually prescribed as oral medication, not injection.

Tramadol injection is used in severe cases when a patient needs to stay sedated for long hours. This applies to patients recovering from invasive surgeries.

Tramadol 50 mg dosage for migraine

Dosage recommendation of Tramadol for adults is between 25 and 100 milligrams per day. The doctor may increase the potency, but it will not go over 300 to 400 milligrams a day. 

FAQ relating to can Tramadol be used for headaches?

Who should not take Tramadol?

Children under the age of 12 cannot take Tramadol. Additionally, people suffering from seizures, a head injury or alcohol addiction should avoid Tramadol.

What are the dangers of taking Tramadol?

The most dangerous side effect of Tramadol is addiction. Since it is a part of the opioid family, Tramadol gives a high on ingestion and increases body dependency.

How long does it take for Tramadol to work?

Tramadol can start showing results in 30 to 60 minutes.

Can I take Tramadol at bedtime?

You can take Tramadol at any time of the day, but ensure you take your meds consistently at the same time daily. 

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