If you have migraines, you probably have triggers—foods, drinks, activities, and other things that can cause, or trigger, migraine pain. Knowing your individual triggers, so you can avoid them, can help you experience fewer migraines.
Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a tidy list of items and activities that trigger migraines? Unfortunately, your migraine pain and your triggers are as individual as you are. One way to find out more about your triggers is to work with one of the professionals at Apex Medical Center to keep a headache journal and look for patterns.
To get you started, here are five common triggers.
Many common migraine triggers include foods and beverages. For example, aged cheeses, red wine, additives such as aspartame and monosodium glutamate, salty foods, caffeine, and many others can trigger migraines in many people.
The best way to discover whether or not foods or beverages trigger migraines for you is to keep a journal of what you eat and drink and when you experience symptoms of a migraine.
Eating at irregular times and dehydration are also common migraine triggers. Keeping your meals to a regular schedule and drinking plenty of water may help you avoid migraine pain.
Although researchers don’t know exactly how, they do know that sleep and migraines are connected. If your sleep schedule changes or is especially irregular, you’re much more likely to experience migraines.
About half of migraine attacks happen between the hours of 4am and 9am, which makes you more likely to develop a sleep disorder. In other words, having migraines can cause a sleep disorder and a sleep disorder can trigger a migraine.
Your care provider at Apex Medical Center can help you develop a sleep plan, and provide you with more information on good sleep hygiene if you think that irregular, disrupted, or poor sleep is triggering your migraine pain.
There is a long list of sensory stimuli that are migraine triggers for many people. You may want to pay attention to the following potential triggers:
- Bright light or glare
- Flickering lights
- Chemical smells such as cleaners or gasoline
- Strong food smells
According to the American Migraine Foundation, women are three times more likely to experience migraines than men, and about three-fourths of female migraine patients are more likely to have a migraine attack around the time of their menstrual period. Hormonal changes are likely at play in those cases.
If you find that hormonal changes are one of your triggers, don’t despair. There are methods of stabilizing your hormone levels that can help.
Stress is a trigger for as many as 50-70% of people who have migraines. In addition to the normal, daily stressors most people deal with, if you have migraines, you probably feel stress thinking about when the next attack will be—which can bring on a migraine!
Managing stress may seem like an impossible endeavor, but there are techniques that can help. Mediation, exercise, and even scheduling relaxation time into your daily routine can be helpful. Talk to your provider at Apex Medical Center about other possibilities such as biofeedback, relaxation therapy, and other approaches to stress-reduction.
There are other potential migraine triggers, but investigating these five common triggers gives you a place to start. If you’d like more information on how to avoid migraine pain, book an appointment online or by phone with one of the experts at Apex Medical Center today.