A migraine is a throbbing headache, usually on one side of the head, which is made worse by light and noise and is often accompanied by nausea and vomiting. No one wants to suffer from a migraine, and paying attention to the triggers is really a form of preventative symptomatic migraine treatment.
Causes vary from person to person so it is important to keep track of all that happens before a migraine attack to see if there is a trend. These are some of the triggers:
- Bright or blinking lights, computer screens, fluorescent tubes and especially glare from the sun can all produce a migraine, as can other visual stimuli, like flashing lights, or eyestrain.
- Odors - whether nice or nasty.
- Second hand cigarette smoke.
- Foggy weather (when there is a high ozone level).
- In addition to skipping meals or fasting, specific foods and beverages trigger migraine headaches in many people. Included are certain foods such as mozzarella cheese as well as food additives monosodium glutamate (MSG) and tyramine. (which is a chemical by-product created by protein breaking down in aged foods, like certain cheeses).
- If you are not used to vigorous exercise, over-exertion can make it more likely that you will get a migraine.
- Tension and stress whether negative or positive experiences. A classic migraine pattern is someone who works or studies hard all week, only to collapse with an intense migraine on the weekend after the impetus has disappeared.
- Alcohol is another trigger - particularly red wine, sherry, and beer.
- Chocolate, including hot chocolate and cocoa.
- Insomnia whether through lack of sleep, too much sleep, a change in your sleeping pattern or a pillow that is too hard. Even napping or going to bed and getting up on an irregular schedule can trigger migraines for some.
- Some women have migraines just before, during or just after menstrual periods. Changing estrogen levels are a common trigger.
- Sometimes triggers are caused by factors over which you have no control such as the environment including changes in the barometric pressure, in altitude, temperature or humidity.
Be aware that some over-the-counter pain relievers can actually cause migraines if they contain caffeine as caffeine is yet another trigger.
Migraines and Diet
Cluster Migraine Headaches
Migraine Pain Relief
Migraine Headache Relief
Migraines in Children
Types of Migraines
See also Headache articles