Know Your Triggers

What could be triggering your migraines?

You can feel one coming on. You feel depressed or hyperactive. You’re irritable, craving foods, or can’t stop yawning. Maybe you experience auras and you see flashes of light or lose your vision. Then the pain hits you. Your head is throbbing, you’re sensitive to light, sound, and smells. You may even get sick to your stomach or pass out. Whatever comes along with your migraines, the pain can last for four hours to three days, leaving you feeling drained and exhausted.

People who suffer from migraines have hyperactive brains. Brain chemical imbalances, genetics, environmental factors, and changes in the brainstem all play a possible role in triggering migraines. What’s tolerable for some people triggers a headache in others.

Though you may know your migraine triggers, there are likely some you aren’t aware of yet. If you experience migraines, keep a headache journal. At the first sign of attack, record recent foods, drinks, stress levels, activities, sleep schedule, hormone changes, medications, odors, lights, or hunger. Then you can connect the dots.

Wondering what some of the most common migraine triggers are? Mission Viejo Fit Body Boot Camp reviewed numerous studies that revealed the causes of migraines. Read below to find out.

Food Triggers

When you know what foods lead to migraine pain, changing your eating habits can pay big dividends on migraine avoidance.

Common culprits include aged cheeses, processed meats that contain nitrates, monosodium glutamate (MSG), salty foods, meat tenderizers, onions, nuts, dried fruit, citrus, chocolate, and artificial sweeteners. You can also get migraines from skipping meals or eating on an irregular schedule, so take care to eat healthy meals at regular intervals.

Beverage Triggers

Just as food can bring on migraines, drinks can as well. Caffeinated beverages are a migraine trigger for many people. For others, a headache comes when they don’t get their regular caffeine fix. Alcohol can also trigger a headache—in particular, drinks containing sulfites or other impurities. If you find yourself suffering migraines after drinking, a personal trainer in Mission Viejo suggests that you avoid red wine, bourbon, whiskey, champagne, and dark beers.

Hormone Triggers

Ladies should be aware that they’re particularly prone to migraines due to changes in estrogen levels. This often occurs before or during monthly periods, during pregnancy and menopause, and while taking hormone replacement therapy or oral contraceptives.

Stress Triggers

Watch what you eat and drink and still suffer migraines? It may be from stress. Anxiety, fatigue, grief, and stress can all trigger headaches. Learn to recognize the various stresses and stressors in your life, whether at home or work, and practice stress management methods.

Sensory Overload Triggers

Your sight, smell, and hearing can become overly stimulated and trigger a migraine. Bright, flickering, or glaring lights; loud or high-pitched noises; and strong smells (perfume, secondhand smoke, and paint fumes) can either trigger pain or make it worse. This is why people with migraines just want to lie down in a dark, cool, quiet room.

Sleep Disturbance Triggers

Many people suffer from migraines due to too much sleep, too little sleep, or an irregular sleep schedule. Jet lag can also contribute to this problem. Aim to stay on a sleep schedule, sleeping and waking around the same time each day and you’ll be better prepared to fend off potential migraines.

Weather Change Triggers

Extreme hot or cold temperatures, high humidity, and changes in the atmospheric pressure can trigger migraines. Some people experience this going in an out of air-conditioned buildings on a hot day. To sidestep migraines, keep your eye on the weather forecast. When you see major weather changes ahead, it may help to start taking your migraine medication before the pain sets in.

Physical Exertion Triggers

Working out is good for your health, but sudden exercise—including sexual activity, can be blamed for migraines. If exercise triggers a migraine for you, avoid the pain by easing into exercise with a warm-up, ending with a cool-down, and staying hydrated with plenty of water.

Stinky Stuff. The studies reviewed by Mission Viejo bootcamp also revealed that three out of four migraine sufferers report worsening symptoms from exposure to strong odors. The most common offenders include cigarette smoke, perfume, and cleaning products.

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