It’s a common misconception that a headache mask is an effective treatment for headaches, but the real answer is probably no, says a new study.
And it doesn’t have to do with how well it works.
A new study found that for many headaches, the best mask is a plain white cotton shirt, and for some headaches, it’s just plain old plain white shirts, says lead author Brian J. Johnson, an assistant professor of pediatrics and health sciences at the University of Minnesota.
This means a plain cotton shirt with a cotton cap, which is not as effective as a mask, but does have a few advantages: It doesn’t absorb water, and it’s less likely to cause irritation.
The study, published in the journal Annals of Emergency Medicine, looked at how many headache treatments people were prescribed in the U.S. in 2017.
They were treated with a range of treatments, from simple cold packs to treatments with nasal sprays, all with the goal of getting the symptoms under control.
“The idea is that if you’re going to have a headache it’s a better idea to get your headache under control than to try to take the headache out of your body,” Johnson says.
“It’s about getting a headache under the control of your system.”
The study also looked at whether or not people felt relief from headaches after using masks.
People who got the cold-packs treatment reported feeling better for about two weeks after their mask use, and the nasal spray treatment was effective for about three weeks.
The nasal spray treatments weren’t very effective.
There were no significant differences in the response to the nasal spray treatments between people who had received both types of treatment, Johnson says, though it was the nasal-spray treatment that was the most effective.
“People that had received a mask had no significant improvement in their headache after their first three treatments,” he says.
Johnson and his colleagues analyzed data from over 9,000 people who were prescribed a headache-management treatment in the US between 2014 and 2016.
They looked at a range to look for treatments that were effective in treating headaches, and they didn’t find a lot of clear winners.
They did find a few that were very effective at reducing the frequency and severity of headaches, such as combining nasal sprouts with mask use and taking painkillers.
However, the majority of treatments they looked at were just plain white.
“In my opinion, it seems clear that there is a small but significant benefit of mask use for the treatment of headache,” Johnson said.
The researchers found that a mask was most effective when it was worn over the face or neck, or over the eyes, neck, and upper arms.
The mask was the only treatment that appeared to be effective for reducing the number of symptoms, such a headache or pain, the authors found.
Johnson says this finding is consistent with other studies that have found that people who use mask use report less pain after using a mask.
The research also shows that the mask is not a “super-treatment” for headaches.
“I think there’s a difference between the mask and the other treatments that people are getting, and that’s because mask use has not been associated with any type of reduction in the frequency of headaches,” he said.
This study is the first to look at mask use in the treatment for headache and pain in adults, and Johnson says it provides important data.
“What’s important about this study is that it’s not the first time that we’ve seen a mask effect,” he explains.
“We’ve seen the same effects with other things like antibiotics and painkillers, so this may well be something that we’ll see more and more of in the future.”