Do You Know Your Migraine Triggers?

Why is it important to know what triggers your migraines? Uncovering your triggers is important to prevention, and prevention is a key part of your pain management process. To learn what triggers your migraine, start a journal to keep track of your symptoms and when they occur.

When using a migraine journal, take note of what you had been doing or eating before the migraine started. Write down what the weather was like. Also, describe the intensity of pain, the type of pain, and how long it lasted. Below are some common migraine triggers to consider when using your journal.  

Common Migraine Triggers


Food triggers are usually unique to each person, but the National Headache Foundation lists some of the more common types of food triggers. These include cheeses, nuts, chocolate, citrus fruit, caffeine, alcohol, and monosodium glutamate (MSG).


While there is a common consensus that stress affects migraines, it is not completely known why this is the case. It is possible that stress leads to the release of peptides which can cause inflammation and over-stimulation.


Eyestrain can trigger a migraine and occurs when you stare too long at a TV or computer screen. It can also occur from reading text that is too small.


Migraine sufferers are often extremely sensitive to light. In fact, over 80% of people who experience migraines suffer from light sensitivity.


Changes in humidity, pressure, and temperature are common triggers for migraine. Some migraine sufferers have noted that storms can trigger their headaches as well.


Since the human body is comprised of over 65% water, then losing just a small fraction of water can cause dehydration. Every day, we lose water from perspiration and urination. Water loss is greater in the heat, during physical activity, and when ill. Alcohol and caffeinated drinks may also contribute to dehydration.  Dehydration can occur before you even get thirsty, so it is important to stay hydrated throughout the day.


Some people report that certain smells and odors trigger their headaches. Some smells reported included perfume, gasoline, cigarette smoke, and cleaning supplies.


Hormones can trigger migraines. About 60% of women get migraine headaches right before their period. This is due to a drop in estrogen levels.

Next Steps in Migraine Prevention and Management

Consider seeking out a migraine doctor or specialist to help with the management of your migraines. Migraine doctors will know what treatments will work best to prevent your headaches.

Our Las Vegas migraine doctors at Apex Medical Center can create an individualized treatment for your migraines. At Apex Medical Center, you’ll have access to the latest treatments for migraine headaches.


 Image courtesy of FrameAngel at

Apex Medical Center

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