10 Migraine Triggers and How to Avoid Them

Migraines affect one in four households in the United States and nearly 4 million people suffer from chronic migraines (15 or more headache days per month). Migraines are complex, to say the least, and there’s much we still don’t understand about them. What we do know is that many are triggered by certain factors, and understanding these triggers is one of the keys to controlling your migraines.

To help you better understand your triggers so that you can put a plan in place to avoid them, the team here at Magnolia Medical Center pulled together a list of the 10 most common.

1. Stress

The role that stress plays in your health is fairly significant and includes migraines. In fact, stress is the most common migraine trigger with 70% of migraine sufferers reporting the connection.

While it may be difficult to avoid stress altogether, there are ways in which you can take the teeth out of stress, including:

  • Relaxation techniques like deep-breathing exercises
  • Practices like yoga
  • Regular exercise
  • Turning off your phone

Ultimately, any technique for reducing stress in your life will be rewarded with better mental and physical health and will likely reduce your migraines.

2. Alcohol

Whether it’s a glass of red wine or a cocktail, alcohol is known for triggering migraines. Clearly, to avoid this outcome, you should watch your alcohol consumption carefully.

3. Foods

This trigger category is a broad one, as the number of foods that can trigger migraines is about as large as the number of migraine sufferers. It’s important to track your diet so you can figure out whether certain foods consistently lead to migraines.

4. Weather changes

When the atmosphere around you changes, this can trigger a migraine. If weather patterns affect whether you get a migraine, you can take steps to better prepare yourself with medications that you can take at the first signs of a headache.

5. Dehydration

Nearly one-third of migraine patients report that dehydration can trigger a migraine. To prevent this from happening, follow the 8 and 8 rule: Eight glasses of eight ounces of water per day.

6. Strong odors

Migraines are a neurological condition in which your sense of smell can play a role, both as a trigger and as a symptom. If smell is part of your migraine patterns, you’d do well to steer clear of strong odors, such as perfumes, chemicals, and gasoline.

7. Lack of sleep

Many people report that migraines develop when they’re not getting enough sleep or when they’re jet-lagged. If you’re having trouble regulating your sleep, come see us so we can devise a plan that helps you get the rest you need.

8. Hormones

Women are far more susceptible to migraines than men and this is largely due to changes in their hormones. If you’re female and you notice that migraines attack during certain times of your menstrual cycles, we can place you on hormonal birth control.

9. Exercise

Physical activity, especially high-intensity exercise, is known for triggering migraines. If this sounds familiar, we don’t want you to give up exercise, but perhaps you can find lower-intensity activities and engage in them for longer to reap the same rewards.

10. Lights and sounds

We’ve already explored the role that smell can play in migraines, but bright lights and loud sounds may also be triggers. To prevent this, you can institute avoidance practices like not going to movie theaters and wearing sunglasses whenever you think the light is too bright.

Please note that this list only includes the most common migraine triggers, and yours may be unique to you. We help you identify your triggers so you can put a plan in place to avoid them as best you can.

To learn more about trigger management, as well as your migraine treatment options, contact our office in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, to set up an appointment.

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