More than 45 million Americans get headaches, time and time again. Some have a chronic problem, some now and then, and some, about 16-18 million suffer from migraines. Following are some helps for all kinds of headaches.

Take pain relievers as directed – take too much can actually make the headaches worse or more frequent

Don’t delay – take pain relievers at the beginning, don’t wait, it may be too late

Exercise – it’s a good preventative measure, it eases tension. It may help if the headache is not too bad to exercise during the headache also. But don’t exercise if the headache is severe.

Sleep – Getting more sleep or taking a nap can help relieve a lot of headaches. But don’t over sleep, that could make it rebound or become worse. Also sleep straight, awkward positions can cause the muscles in your neck to contract and trigger a headache. Watch your posture and your head position, are you doing something that can cause a headache?

Cold or Hot? – What feels good or works for you? Some like a cold pack on their foreheads but others need heat or even a hot shower

Use your hands – try self massage or acupressure. two key points for reducing pain with acupressure are the web between the forefinger and thumb, squeeze there until you feel pain, and under the bony ridges at the back of the neck, use both thumbs to apply pressure there

Learn to relax – biofeedback techniques, deep breathing, meditation, all can help. Try some thing new and learn it to do it well if it works

Wear a headband – Tying a tight cloth around your head will decrease blood flow to the scalp and lessen the throbbing and pounding of the migraine.

Say no to perfume – scents of all kinds can trigger a headache if your prone

Be quiet – excessive noise is a common trigger for tension headaches

Protect your eyes – Bright light, whether from the sun, tv, lighting, eyestrain, it can all trigger a headache. take some breaks from the light and your work. If your wear glasses, try a light tint

Watch the caffeine – If you don’t get your daily dosage of caffeine, your blood vessels will dilate. Too much caffeine will also give you a headache. Stay within your limit.

Don’t chew gum – repetitive chewing motion can tighten muscles and bring on a tension headache

Go easy on the salt – high salt intake can trigger migraines in some people

Eat on time – skipping or delaying meals can cause headaches 2 ways, a missed meal can cause muscle tension and when blood sugar drops from lack of food, the blood vessels of the brain tighten. When you eat again, they expand, leading to a headache.

Know your danger foods – Some people have food triggers, if you’re one, learn your triggers and avoid them

Pass on the nitrates – luncheon meats, cured meats, foods that contain nitrates dilate blood vessels and can cause big time headaches. MSG can be a big one!

Chocolate – sadly, this can trigger a headache too. Young people can build up a tolerance and may outgrow it. Watch the nuts and aged cheeses too, and any other foods that contain tyramine

Cocktails? – Go easy

Ice Cream – ice, ice cream, any cold foods can cause an instant stabbing pain, good news… won’t last long

Learn to relax, have a sense of humor, take life and your list of things to do with a grain of salt.