Migraine Triggers

migraine triggers

I experience a lot of migraine triggers and I manage them daily. I have personal stories, resources, and ideas on how to avoid or deal with migraine triggers. When I think I understand my triggers, it changes and I discover more possible common triggers. It's a never-ending learning experience and journey.

While the cause of migraine is still unknown, triggers can bring on migraine attacks in many different ways in each individual. Triggers can vary from day to day, person to person. They are thought to cause a series of events in the brain which leads to migraine symptoms. Some triggers are avoidable or manageable. Larger triggers give little to no warning or allow prevention. I have linked my experiences below. I need consistency and it takes lifestyle choices and awareness to avoid migraine triggers. There are so many factors to consider. Identifying triggers can help and everyone is different!

Migraine triggers are factors or events that can contribute to the onset of a migraine attack in susceptible individuals. It's important to note that triggers can vary from person to person, and identifying individual triggers can be crucial for effective management. Here are some common migraine triggers, along with strategies for avoidance and treatment.

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Change in Routine

I need consistency in my life to manage migraine triggers. Any change in sleep, routine, hormones, weather, food, and life affect me.  I try to keep things on a schedule and when I can’t, I prepare with ways to offset the change.

Avoidance:

  • Establish a regular sleep routine
  • Create a comfortable sleep environment

Treatment:

  • Prioritize sleep hygiene
  • Consider lifestyle changes
  • Relaxation techniques

My experience with:

Weekend Let Down

Change in Sleep

Hormonal Migraine Trigger

Do periods trigger migraine? No, researchers are still working on the cause.  But my period triggers a migraine attack every month and is related. I first noticed migraine spikes when I started my menstrual cycle in high school.  The cramps were horrible but the migraines were the worst! I learned to prevent it before my period and often after. The change before and after affected me. I have spoken with my gynecologist to have the best birth control that can help my attacks. I experience auras which is an important thing to discuss with your doctor.

Avoidance:

  • Maintain a consistent sleep schedule, stay hydrated, and consider hormonal therapies under medical supervision.

Treatment:

  • Hormone therapies or contraceptives may be prescribed by a healthcare professional.

Environmental Migraine Triggers

Any environmental change can trigger migraine. My Migraine Life likes consistency and I do my best to stick to it. Weather is a migraine trigger and so hard to avoid. I love to travel yet it is a lot to manage symptoms, prepare for migraine attacks, and avoid common migraine triggers. I struggle with the light, sound, smell, and even touch sensitives wherever I go.

Avoidance:

  • Minimize exposure to strong smells, bright lights, and extreme temperatures.

Treatment:

My experience with:

Weather Changes

Snow Glare

Outdoor Light

Indoor Light

Screen Time

Smell

Noise

Travel

Humidity

Allergies

Coughing

Work Environment

Diet and Dehydration

One of my biggest migraine triggers is food. There may be many foods that give you migraine spikes like hidden MSG, histamines, nitrates, sulfites, additives, and more.  There are many trigger foods to avoid and each person reacts differently and in different ways to each.

Dietary Factors

Avoidance:

  • Identify and avoid trigger foods (e.g., chocolate, caffeine, aged cheese).

Treatment:

  • Manage diet
  • Stay hydrated
  • Consider dietary counseling.

My experience with:

Skipped Meals

Food Sensitivities

Cravings

Hydration

Avoidance:

  • Ensure regular hydration by drinking water throughout the day.

Treatment:

  • Rehydrate with water or electrolyte solutions during an attack.

My experience with:

Dehydration

Alcohol

Caffeine can be a migraine trigger or, for some, a relief. It differs in each individual and should be experimented with and controlled.

Migraine Exercise Triggers and Treatment

Exercise can make migraine worse or better. Depending on the day and type of activity I do depend on my migraine sensitivities, levels, and circumstances. Every day is different with exercise but I try to move my body as much as I can without causing more harm.

Engage in moderate, consistent exercise to promote overall well-being and reduce stress.

Emotions and Mental Health

Emotions trigger migraine and often comes with anxiety and depression. Mental health affects the quality of everyone’s life. It should never be overlooked. I try to manage stress by giving myself self-care and awareness of how I’m feeling.

Stress

Avoidance:

Treatment:

  • Engage in regular relaxation activities and consider counseling or therapy.

My experience with:

Crying

Medication

Over-the-Counter Medications:

Use non-prescription pain relievers like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or aspirin for mild to moderate migraine. Be cautious of Medication overuse

  • Did you know that headache medication can cause you to have a headache? I didn’t either until I experienced it in high school. Medication overuse headaches are caused by taking too many medications which essentially causes withdrawal and perpetuates the cycle.  A more in-depth view of medication overuse can be found.

Prescription Medications:

Consult a healthcare professional for prescription medications tailored to acute attacks or preventive measures.

When to Seek Medical Help:

If migraine attacks are severe, persistent, or impacting your daily life, consult a healthcare professional. They can provide a more personalized assessment and recommend appropriate treatments or therapies.

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