Avoiding Migraine Triggers
Avoiding Migraine Triggers… When it comes to a migraine, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Once you identify the things that cause your headaches — known as migraine triggers — you can reduce the frequency of migraine episodes. Triggers can include a wide range of environmental factors. This includes certain foods, beverages, chemicals, medications, and even changes in altitude. While some triggers, such as weather, may be out of your control, many can be avoided with careful planning and lifestyle changes.
What Is a Migraine Trigger?
As the name implies, a migraine trigger is something that sets off a migraine attack. It may be something you encounter in your environment. This includes food and drink additives, odors, cigarettes, or a biological change in your body, such as changing levels of hormones. Triggers are very individual. What prompts a migraine attack in one person may not have any impact on another. Fortunately, once identified, many triggers can be avoided. Careful reading of food and beverage labels can help you bypass many dietary triggers. The same goes for checking labels on cleaning and personal care products for chemicals, perfumes, and other odorbased triggers.
Stress Based Migraine Triggers
Stress While a large percentage of migraineurs report that stress is a trigger for headache attacks, clinical research has yet to verify a link between stress and migraine. It’s possible the biological changes and fluctuations in hormones caused by chronic stress make migraine sufferers more susceptible to other headache triggers.
Another reported migraine trigger is “let down” or stress relaxation response. After periods of extreme stress, crying, or anxiety, some people may experience a migraine attack. The exact physiological relationship between stress and migraine is not understood.
Other Migraine Triggers May Be Controllable in Theory
Other triggers may be controllable in theory, but harder to manage. These can include changes in your sleep schedule, medications you take (e.g., asthma or hypertension drugs), and stress. Some people have a migraine when they encounter bright or flickering lights. And While you may be able to avoid these in your home and workplace, you could encounter these stimuli outside and in other public places.
Finally, there are triggers that you have little, if any control over. These include certain weather conditions, encounters with loud sounds, and air pollution. Hormonal changes in women may also fall into this category. The best way to identify migraine triggers so you can later avoid them is to keep an ongoing headache diary