Chances are you have medications such as Tylenol or NyQuil in your medicine cabinet. Generically known as acetaminophen, this over-the-counter medication is a very popular and effective drug taken to relieve pain and reduce fever.  It is commonly used for headaches, colds, cramps, toothaches, muscular pain, and arthritis, among other conditions.  Before I play tennis, I often take this pain reliever, knowing in advance that my knees will take a beating!

Although acetaminophen is generally considered harmless when taken at low doses, taking too much or overdosing can lead to liver injury, failure, and in worse cases death. There are thousands of medications that have been linked to liver damage, but acetaminophen causes more cases of liver injury than any other in the country, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).   Because it is an ingredient in so many medicinal products, it's easy for people to take twice as much acetaminophen as needed.

Taking two 500 milligram tablets of Extra StrengthTylenol three times a day is close to the maximum recommended dose of no more than 4,000 milligrams of acetaminophen daily.  Inadvertently consuming other medications that also have acetaminophen can risk damaging your liver.  The drug is metabolized in the liver and removed through urinations. However, some of the drug remains and can be converted into a toxic form that can damage liver cells. Taking too much acetaminophen raises the risk of liver damage, and in severe cases, it can lead to death.

Take extra precaution in the medicine that you are taking and be aware of how much acetaminophen you are consuming. Avoid taking products in combination and reduce your drug intake when possible.

While it is used for more than just headaches, this is a common reason fot taking this drug, so we have a few ways to relieve your headaches naturally and hopefully reduce the need for acetaminophen.

  • 1

    Magnesium

    Magnesium Oxide can be an alternative remedy to headaches, including migraines. You can take magnesium in pill form. The recommended dosage is 400 to 500 mg. You should not go over 1,200 mg. Of course, check with your doctor before starting or stopping any medications, even over-the-counter products.

  • 2

    Cold or Heat Compress

    Ice from a cold compress has numbing effects that can reduce pain. While heat copresses can relax muscle tension. Instead of taking acetaminophen, try an Ice pack or even a hot shower or bath to release tension.

  • 3

    Scalp Massage

    Nothing feels better than a scalp massage. Relieve tension with this remedy by rubbing your fingertips in small circles on your scalp. It can encourage circulation and even relieve tension from your neck. Don't forget to rub your temples and the middle of your forehead as well.  Add a little deep breathing as you do this for extra relaxation.

  • 4

    Water

    Your headaches may be due to dehydration. For those who don't drink enough water, these headaches may feel like a pulsating pain on your temple or the middle of your forehead.  Drink plenty of water every day to avoid these headaches.  A good rule of thumb is try try to drink at least 6-8 glassed per day. Reports have shown that people who drink water after feeling symptoms feel better within 30 minutes to 3 hours.