If you’ve ever experienced a migraine, you are familiar with the throbbing pain, nausea and range of other symptoms associated with them. Chronic migraine sufferers deal with these severe symptoms regularly, lowering their quality of life and keeping them on edge. Migraine triggers are events that lead to migraines, usually immediately or shortly following exposure.
One of the first steps in migraine treatment is tracking your triggers and migraine days in a journal. This helps determine what may be causing them and how you can help stop them without medication.
Migraine v. Headache
While often used interchangeably, migraines and headaches are very different experiences. Headaches are more acute, with symptoms that are painful but not debilitating. However, migraines often leave the patient unable to carry on with their daily activities. Common symptoms of migraines include:
- Throbbing pain in a particular area, usually behind one of the eyes
- Distorted vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Sensitivity to sound
Common Migraine Triggers
Identifying what happened directly before the onset of a migraine is key to stopping them in the future. Knowing the most common migraine triggers and how to avoid them can help lower migraine days and keep you living a pain-free life. These are some of the most common migraine triggers and ways you can start avoiding them:
Stress can lead to a range of health problems, including weight gain, weight loss, headaches, depression, anxiety and migraines. While it is impossible to remove stress from our lives altogether, there are ways we can minimize stress, so it does not lead to adverse health effects. When things get stressful, consider practicing breathing exercises, making to-do lists, or taking small breaks to make the stressful event more manageable.
Changes in sleep pattern
Getting to bed too late, waking up too early, or unusual restlessness can all trigger migraines. Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule is essential for overall wellness, and it can also lower migraine days.
Many women experience migraines around their menstrual cycle. Some women may find that changing their hormonal birth control can help alleviate this uncomfortable symptom. While this is not an option for everyone, being aware that menstruation may be causing your migraines can help you prepare.
Certain foods or drinks
Foods that contain tyramine, such as aged cheeses, soy and smoked fish, are connected to migraines. Alcohol, especially red wine, caffeine, breads, and food with nitrates, have also been identified as common migraine triggers. If you get a migraine, write down the food or drink you had before it started. If you notice a pattern, avoid that food item to keep migraines at bay.
If you get chronic migraines or experience regular headaches, visit the Center for Interventional Pain & Spine. We have the specialized physicians to help you find your migraine triggers and develop a comprehensive treatment plan. Schedule your appointment with CIPS today!
The following CIPS physicians have a special interest in the treatment of chronic migraines and headaches.
Dr. Venk Sundararajan
“Dr. Venk is a skilled and caring Doctor who has significantly helped me with caudal injections. He has a professional way of dealing with patients and makes himself readily available to his patients. I give Dr. Venk my highest recommendation.” – M.D.
Dr. Nidhi Agrawal
“This is a wonderful, caring physician. She takes as much time as needed to explain tests, procedures, and results. I’ve sent many of my friends to her. Everyone was impressed.” G.T.