Top Migrane Triggers

People who suffer from migraine often have no words to describe the excruciating pain suffered during a migraine attack. Migraine is thought of to be a result of chemical and circulatory changes in the brain leading to pain, sensitivity to light and nausea. An attack of Migraine is often preceded by certain typical symptoms.  Migraine is often localized in one side of the head though it may be a shifting pain or occur on both sides of the head at the same time. Migraine attacks last from a couple of hours to 48 hours at a time.

There are often certain external factors causing a migraine attack, called migraine triggers:

1.    Food: There are certain foodstuffs that trigger an allergic reaction in the body in the form of a migraine attack. Some of these are chocolate, nuts, certain dairy products and food containing MSG (ajinomoto).A patient suffering from migraine is often advised to keep a dairy listing foods consumed in order to find a link between food allergies and migraine attacks. Caffeine in excess of4-5 cups of coffee in a day is excessive by any standards, more so for migraine patients. Caffeine is a mood elevator in small doses, but in excess it harms the body.

2.  Visual stimulation: People who are prone to migraine headaches report increased incidence and intensity of attacks when exposed to bright lights for prolonged periods of time. Prolonged work on computers or television screens triggers migraine attacks.

Often patients report migraine attacks after watching movies in a cinema theater .This is due to the following reasons:

a.    Neck and shoulder movements are restricted in a cinema seat

b.    The screen is well lit while the surrounding areas are dark

c.   The air in a theater is at the best recycled air when the air conditioning is on.

3.     Stress: High levels of stress and tensed shoulder and neck muscles contribute to migraine attacks.

4.     Lack of sleep: Irregular sleep schedules and insomnia are among the top triggers for migraine attacks. Lack of sleep is a trigger for migraine attacks.

5.   Lack of exercise and fresh air: Fresh air and exercise are essential to keep the body’s circulatory, digestive and respiratory systems functioning at peak capacity. Lack of fresh air and exercise causes build up of toxins in the blood stream which manifests in the form of a migraine attack.

6.  Environment: Some people cannot stand strong perfumes and may suffer from migraine after visiting places where large crowds gather in limited space like a department store. Flickering lights are also triggers of migraine.

7.     Menstruation: Menstrual cycle is a major trigger of migraine for some women. A few days before or during their period or at ovulation are the times the attacks happen. Estrogen level dropping is also suspected to be a migraine trigger as felt during menopause.

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