For millions of Americans who experience regular headaches, the pain and irritation can affect their daily lives. Headaches are triggered by a variety of factors, from health conditions and lifestyle habits to diet and behavior. The good news is that it may be possible to suppress or even eliminate headaches altogether with the help of a few measures.

Determine the type of headache
It’s important to determine which type of headache you’re experiencing, as effective treatment strategies can vary. Rather than occurring on their own, secondary headaches are caused by an underlying issue that may require medical attention. Similarly, if you are experiencing severe migraines or cluster headaches, you should to talk to a doctor about the right course of action for managing them. For those suffering less severe headaches, there is a range of options available to help control and manage symptoms.

Treat immediately
As soon as you start experiencing a headache, begin treating it immediately. By continuing what you’re doing, or attempting to simply ignore it, you may allow the headache to worsen. Your chances of reducing symptoms are greatest during the early stages of a headache, so taking the necessary pain relievers and medication during this period is crucial. You could also try applying a cold, moist cloth or ice pack to the affected area and avoid light bright lights and loud noises as much as possible.

Try holistic remedies
If traditional medicines prove inadequate at suppressing your headaches, there is a whole range of alternative treatments that may be more effective. Acupuncture has been known to cure various types of headaches, though specific treatment types depend on the type of pain and other symptoms like fatigue and dizziness. Aromatherapy has also been proven to relieve headaches by helping to reduce stress and relax the mind and. Try using mandarin or lavender in your bath, or administer them directly to your nostrils with some cotton wool.

Manage your lifestyle
Sometimes headaches can occur as a result of unhealthy lifestyle choices. Stress is one of the most common causes of headaches, so try to eliminate as many emotional and physical stress from your daily life. Sleeping well and getting regular exercise will leave you better equipped to deal with the stresses of the day. If you spend long periods sitting in the one position, you could try getting up and walking around or stretching for a short time. If underlying emotional issues are causing you distress, it may be wise to speak to a therapist.

Manage your diet
Certain dietary choices may also be contributing to your headaches. Your body may react poorly to specific foods, so try keeping a log of your meals to see if any are regularly triggering headaches. Sugar-rich foods, alcoholic drinks and tobacco have all been known to cause headaches, as have caffeinated beverages like coffee and soda. For those who simply can’t live without a caffeine fix, try limiting your coffee intake to less than two cups per day.