People who usually search for migraine triggers on the internet are the ones who are new sufferers. So a little intro is a must. A migraine is a piercing or pulsing feeling on one side of the head. These can last for hours or days and may be accompanied by nausea, body pains etc. These pains can be so brutal that the sufferer might find it difficult to even move or express their pain.
Migraines usually starts with some other symptoms like a buzzing in your ear, seeing black dots etc. These warning signals are called Aura. Migraines can be prevented with the help of some specific medicines. These should only be consumed with a doctor’s prescription. Don’t fret. These are not life threatening in any way. Though extremely painful and uncomfortable, it is quite easy to control migraines. The right medication and lifestyle changes can aid you in preventing migraine and dealing with it better.
Here are some common triggers of migraines to help give you some insight into why you might be getting them. Once you figure out your triggers, try to make the appropriate changes to your lifestyle to help gain control over your migraines.
1.Lights and Sounds
If you are prone to migraines, it is not highly unlikely that it may be triggered by bright lights and extremely loud sounds. That might make it difficult for you to be in a loud environment. These include concerts, construction sites etc. It may even sometimes be triggered by sunlight. Lights that flicker, constantly change and are too bright can cause some patients to get migraines. But before getting out your sunglasses and hats or going into permanent lockdown, it is important to consider other factors. Factors like lack of food, sleep etc can cause the body to be susceptible to bright lights and sounds. So make sure you eat and sleep as required by your body to reduce your susceptibility to migraines due to bright lights and loud sounds.
Stress is one of the leading causes of Migraine. The two are linked. Many migraine patients say that they experience migraines during a stressful situation. While some others claim that the onset of migraines causes stress. Whatever the case maybe for you, it is very important to try to control your stressors or at least how you let it get to you. That is just good advice for everybody. This will ensure that you deal with your stress more effectively. There are chances you may even experience migraines after the stressful scenario is over. These are commonly referred to as ‘weekend migraines’
3.Odours and Smells
When you experience migraines you may notice that you are more sensitive to your surroundings.
Being sensitive to smells during an attack is unique to migraine patients. It is called ‘osmosphobia’. Particularly strong smells like that of cigarette smoke, candles or even perfumes can be triggers. It is even common for these smells to cause the onset of a migraine attack.
Most people follow a routine-wake up, get ready, go to work, get back home and sleep. You may have noticed that sometimes when you change your routine, you might get migraines. These changes can be in any aspect of your daily routine. These changes can be a change from day shift to night shift, change in commute timings and mode etc. All changes need not be negative. There are times when positive changes like vacations and time off can be a trigger. Although changes from time to time are unavoidable, sticking to a routine can help you reduce your migraines or at least its intensity.
Are you one of those people who cannot function without your morning cup of coffee? Is this cup followed by three or four more cups throughout the day? Though there is major research in favour of coffee and its inflammatory properties, you must be careful if you are prone to migraines. Over consumption can be a cause of an attack. This goes for other caffeinated drinks such as sodas and other soft drinks. Instead of abruptly stopping your caffeine intake, phase it out. This means bring it down to three cups and then to two. Going cold turkey and completely cutting out caffeine can still cause migraines. This is because your body is used to a certain amount of caffeine in it. Caffeine is even present in many forms of medication and chocolates as well so pay attention to what you put in your body. This will help you control your migraines better.
6.Hormones and Related Changes
Migraines and female hormones are strongly linked. There is research which proves that women are three times more likely to suffer from migraines than men. Many women start to experience migraines first with the onset of puberty. There are some who only experience such headaches during menstruation. Some even get it as a symptom of PMS (premenstrual syndrome). Sorry ladies, unfortunately, there is no fixed solution for such a trigger. Oral medication might work for some, while for others pregnancy may reduce it. But there is no guarantee. There have also been many cases where migraines have worsened due to pregnancy. Menopause can also be a particularly difficult time for you in terms of the severity of the migraines.
Have you ever craved for some kind of food and then gotten a migraine right after? Food can also be a trigger for you. Statistically, about 10% migraine patients experience food related migraines. This can be noticed when you crave for something and then right after get a headache. This is especially common with people who have a sweet tooth. Craving for chocolates, or pastries maybe your body’s way of warning you about the onset of a migraine. If this is the case for you then you it is safe to say food is a migraine trigger for you. Contrary to this people can get migraines when they skip meals or eat dessert food or snacks instead of a proper meal. A good way to control your food related migraines is eating healthy snacks throughout the day.
8.Environment and Social Situations
The environment one is and can be a huge trigger factor. This, when combined with fears, can increase the intensity of a migraine. Triggers include heights, water bodies, loud noises, bright lights and even changes in the weather etc. These are environmental triggers, brought about by where we are. There have been cases where people who have a fear of water experience migraines every time they go to beaches. Social factors can also be a major trigger. This means some people who are introverts by nature get migraines when in uncomfortable situations. These situations include parties, family gatherings, parent- teacher meetings etc.
When it comes to sleep there is no direct approach to understanding how it triggers migraines. Some people get migraines from sleeping too much, others from sleeping too less. Not sleeping at night or sleeping late can also be triggers. Lack of sleep makes your mind and body weak. People with migraines have a high chance of becoming insomniacs. These also cause people to be more affected by anxiety attacks and depression too.
Jet lag is another aspect to be considered as it affects and modifies your sleep schedule. When your body clock changes, literally alarms go off and for those of you prone to migraine, might experience more severe headaches. The good thing about sleep factors induced migraines is that the solution is quite simple. Many patients claim that their migraines disappear when they get proper sleep.
Our lives revolve around our electronic gadgets. Can you imagine a day without your phone? The advent of technology has given birth to numerous jobs where people sit on their computer systems from nine to five. The glare of these screens can be a migraine inducing factor. The best way to reduce such migraines will be to use such devices lesser, obviously. But that is quite impossible these days. Try taking breaks regularly, using anti glare screens etc.
Another important factor is how you use these devices. Whether it is sitting comfortably on a chair with back support with the devices at eye level or otherwise. It is important to sit right or you might face neck and back pain. These too are commonly observed triggers for migraines.
If you know of any other migraine triggers, feel free to let us know in the comments below.