Migraine Triggers

emotions triggering migraine

Below I have a list of my top 10 migraine triggers and how I manage them. I have personal stories, resources, and ideas on how to avoid or deal with migraine triggers. Right, when I think I understand my triggers, it changes and I discover more possible common migraine triggers.

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 triggers. There are so many migraine factors to consider. Identifying triggers can help and everyone is different!

Top 10 Migraine Triggers 

Change in Routine

I need consistency in my life in order 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, prepare with ways to offset the change.

Hormonal Triggers

Do periods cause migraines? No, researchers are still working on the cause.  But my period triggers a migraine 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 prior to my period and oftentimes after. The change before and after effect me. I have spoken with my gynecologist in order to have the best birth control that can help my migraine. I experience auras which is an important thing to discuss with your doctor.

Environmental Triggers

Any type of environmental changes can trigger migraine. My Migraine Life likes consistency and I do the 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 where ever I go.


Migraine Triggers Food

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 migraine trigger foods to avoid and each person reacts differently and in different ways to each. 

  • Skipped meals

  • Food sensitivities

  • Alcohol


I seem to never get enough water. Even when I think I’ve drunk enough, I drink some more. Dehydration is a migraine trigger I can avoid.

  • Caffeine

Caffeine is a migraine trigger and for some a relief. It differs in each individual and should be experimented within a controlled way.


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


Emotions trigger migraine and often comes in with anxiety and depression. Mental health affects My Migraine Life and 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.

Muscle Tension

I carry muscle tension in my back, shoulders, and neck triggering migraine. I use a variety of techniques to treat and work out my stressed body.

Medication Overuse

Did you know that headache medication can actually 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. 



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Sarah Rathsack

I tell stories of My Migraine Life. Living life through Migraine consists of advocacy, treatment, prevention, and searching for health and happiness in a positive honest way. My kids, husband, dog, family and friends motivate me to make a difference in the Migraine World.
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