What you need to know about migraine triggers

Published on Jul 19, 2019
Medically reviewed by Krishan Thiru, MBBS, MHA, FRACGP

If you get migraines, you might be wondering what causes them. You would have read in “Is it a migraine or a headache?” that migraine is a debilitating, neurological disorder. Imbalances in brain chemistry or physical changes in the brain are involved. We do know that many things are known to trigger, or, set it off. The key is – by getting to know your triggers – you can become more proactive in the management of it.

What can cause migraines?

Some triggers for migraine headache, include:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Neck pain
  • Lack of food or sleep (or too much sleep!)
  • Dehydration
  • Exposure to bright lights, loud sounds or unusual odours
  • Hormonal changes in women, such as during menstruation, pregnancy and menopause
  • Eating certain foods or drinks, such as aged cheese, cured meats, wine and drinks with high caffeine content (or withdrawal from caffeine)

Taking control of migraines

Migraines can occur unpredictably and might leave you feeling helpless. However, managing migraines is like managing any chronic illness. The most important thing is to work with your doctor to design an updated, proactive treatment plan that’s focused on both preventing and treating your migraines.

Here are a few other tips that you can do to help:

Things you can do to help migraine. Know your triggers, keep a migraine diary, fit in regular exercise, quit smoking, eat regularly, keep hydrated, make time to de-stress, and make sleep a priority.

By keeping a migraine diary, you can identify your triggers and make the necessary lifestyle changes to reduce them.

[1] [2] [3]

References

  • 1. Dodick D. Migraine. Lancet 2018; 391: 1315-1330
  • 2. Burch R. Migraine and Tension-type headache. Med Clin N Am 2019;103: 215-233
  • 3. Schwedt T. Chronic Migraine. BMJ 2014; 348: g1416
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