- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
5 Things You Are Doing to Trigger Your Migraine Headaches
Migraine headaches can be downright devastating in nature, stopping you in your tracks cold, forcing you to want to curl up in a dark corner with your headache pills clutched in the palm of your hands.
Migraine headaches are very common. They fall into a category of their own of a specific brand of headaches. Migraine pains are associated with blood vessel swelling and irritation of nerves surrounding the brain.
Characterized by a throbbing sensation that occurs on one or both sides of the head, a migraine headache can last anywhere from four to twelve hours. While some individuals may only experience a single migraine in a lifetime, others may suffer several migraine headaches over he course of a single month.
There are a variety of factors that may place some individuals at a greater risk for experiencing a migraine than others. In addition to genetics and gender (women) that predispose some of us to migraines, there are also a number of triggers associated with migraines, actions/activities that we sometimes partake in to elevate our chances of experiencing one.
Here are five triggers associated with migraine headaches.
Stress and Worry can Trigger Migraines
Stress can be the root of all evil when it comes to our health, disguising itself in the form of many health ailments ranging from stomach aches to horrific, migraine headaches. To prevent the onset of a migraine, one has to identify the things that cause us to become most stressed. It is very difficult to eliminate all stress but identify those major stressors that trigger migraines may be key to helping you avoid having one. This may mean taking the time to sit down and identify other alternatives to avoid varying situations as well as finding ways to better manage your stress.
The Menstrual Migraine
For women, the start of the menstrual cycle can be a natural trigger for an unwanted migraine headache. Did you know that the risk of a migraine attack increases for women who suffer from migraines during the 5-day peri-menstrual window (2 days before onset of menses and 3 days into menstruation). These headaches are reported to be far more severe, longer in duration and more debilitating than the regular gamut of migraine headaches a woman typically experiences (source: Headache: The Journal of Head & Face Pain, 2008).
Caffeine Dependency and Migraine Headaches
Are you beholden to coffee in the mornings to kick your day into motion? If so, then you may have created a dependency that you are unaware of at this time that is like a volcano waiting to erupt. Unfortunately,with repeated intake of caffeine on a daily basis, the brain comes to expect that it will get that dose of caffeine on a daily basis.
When you do not consume the coffee or caffeine that your brain has come to expect, the pains of withdrawal syndrome takes hold, emerging in the form of a nasty migraine headache in many cases. People commonly experience caffeine withdrawal symptoms over the weekend, when they choose to sleep in an hour or two later than usual instead of rising on time to partake in their usual cup of coffee.
If you have experienced these symptoms, it may be time to evaluate your caffeine consumption habits.
Poor Sleep Habits and Migraines
Fatigue or poor sleep habits can set off a powerful response in our bodies. In general, poor sleeping patterns increase the risk of headaches and makes us more susceptible to pain than we might normally be. In fact, sleepiness can be a symptom of a migraine attack. Studies have shown that poor sleep patterns are most common among those who suffer from migraines than other groups of the population.
If you are experiencing poor sleep patterns, it may be time to take steps to better manage your sleep schedule as well as seek the attention of a medical professional.
Hunger and Migraine Headaches
Thinking about skipping meals? Perhaps you are planning to fast in upcoming weeks. If so and you are a migraine sufferer (or not), you may want to reconsider as skipping meals or take additional steps to prepare yourself for a possible migraine attack during your fasting program.
Other Migraine Headache Triggers to Avoid
Be careful about what you eat. There are certain foods such as aged cheeses and meats that contain tyramine that might trigger a nasty migraine. Monosodium glutamate (MSG) which is commonly used as a flavor enhancer can trigger a migraine headache as well.
Weather changes or even the slightest change in altitude can trigger headaches as well.
Natural Migraine Headache Prevention
There are a variety of natural activities that you can participate in to reduce the frequency of a migraine headache attack including acupuncture, yoga, massages and regular exercise.