The triggers and causes of migraine headaches are as numerous as the people who deal with this debilitating condition. The cause can be attributed to everything from food to genes to hormones and beyond.
Learning the triggers will help migraine sufferers avoid a painful attack, or at least help a migraine to be reduced in severity. Let’s talk about some of the most common causes of migraine headaches and how you can avoid them.
Identifying and addressing what triggers your own migraines is the first step toward improving and lessening the condition. The first thing to do is to keep a record of when you have a migraine, and what you were doing prior to its onslaught.
Do this every time you have an attack – write everything down afterward. This will be helpful information to bring to your doctor. Your physician will then evaluate your condition and devise a plan to help you minimize or eliminate your triggers.
Recognizing these triggers could help you avoid future migraine headaches. Some of the most common causes are the following:
The lack of a good night’s rest can be a trigger for migraine headaches. Sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, disturb sleep patterns and result in not-enough sleep.
Aggravating sleep habits, such as if you grind your teeth while asleep, can also be a contributing factor. If you think you have this issue, speak with your dentist. The dentist may recommend that you wear a mouthpiece, such as a mouth guard, to help prevent your teeth from grinding against each other while you sleep.
Mental disorders can also cause sleeping problems. If you have anxiety disorder or another psychiatric condition, these can trigger sleep apnea – which can cause a migraine. Your doctor can prescribe a medication to address this underlying issue and thereby help relieve your migraines.
As your doctor is determining the cause of your migraines, the physician will ask a series of personal questions regarding how you live your life. Your lifestyle is an important factor in determining your triggers.
Surprisingly, exercise – which is normally a good thing – can cause migraines. Exercising without staying properly hydrated, exercising in extreme heat or cold, or overdoing your exercise routine might have a negative effect.
Medications that are taken daily can act as migraine triggers. For example, contraceptives and heart medicines are contributors for some people. Heart patients who take nitroglycerin have a particular susceptibility to migraines, because nitroglycerin is a vasodilator – meaning it dilates blood vessels, which is a known trigger.
Bright Light and Sensory Stimuli
People who have migraines often find that they are sensitive to light. They often wonder whether their light sensitivity causes a migraine or whether a migraine causes light sensitivity.
Bright sunshine can therefore trigger a migraine. Other sensory stimuli triggers include strong odors and loud noises.
Certain foods can trigger a migraine, including the following:
- Aged cheeses
- Artificial sweeteners
- Foods with a high salt content
- Caffeinated drinks
Headache Doctors in Austin, TX
Without treatment, a migraine headache can last anywhere from four hours to three days. Visiting a health professional who specializes in pain management can help. Our medical team at Balcones Pain Consultants is here for you and will assist in managing migraine pain, while also helping to define your triggers.
The doctor may suggest medication, different types of therapy, changes in your diet, or managing your stress levels more assertively. You will then take note of what works for lessening and reducing your migraines and when you have them without a trigger. You and your doctor can then try to figure out what the as-yet-unknown trigger actually is.
If you’d like more information or to schedule a consultation, call us today at (512) 834-4141 or fill out our appointment request form. We look forward to helping you mitigate your migraine headaches so you can enjoy life much more abundantly.