Headache and migraine pain relief is the goal of BEYOND Headaches

Migraine Triggers


Migraine triggers are different from the "CAUSE" of your migraines. A migraine trigger is any factor that sets off a headache in individuals who are likely to develop these episodes. If you own a pistol,  without ammunition, the gun is scary but harmless. Without that "live" ammo nothing bad happens, you could pull the trigger all day with no explosion. At Beyond Headaches we recognize environmental "triggers" (foods noise, etc.) are always going to be around.  We strive to make you more resilient allowing you to co-exist with the world's never ending triggers.     

Examples of triggers include anxiety, stress, hormonal imbalance, blood sugar imbalance, bright lights, loud noise, odors, cigarette smoke, alcohol, aged cheeses, chocolate, mono-sodium glutamate, nitrites, aspartame, and caffeine and on and on.  

Different Triggers That Can Cause Migraines

For some women, the reduction of estrogen during the onset of a menstrual cycle is a trigger for migraine headaches. The time frame between exposure to a stimulus and the beginning of headache varies from nearly no time to 48 hours.

Exposure to a trigger does not always lead to a headache/migraine. Conversely, avoidance of triggers cannot completely prevent headaches.

Different migraine sufferers respond to different triggers, and any one trigger will not induce a headache in every person who has migraine headaches.

Sleep Deprivation Migraine

Sleep deprivation, too much sleep, poor quality of sleep, and frequent awakening at night are associated with both migraine and tension headaches.

Not surprisingly, improved sleep habits have been shown to reduce the frequency of migraine headaches. Good quality sleep has also been shown to shorten the duration of migraine headaches.

Fasting and Food Migraine

Migraine sufferers should avoid prolonged fasting. Fasting may cause the release of stress-related hormones and lowering blood sugar levels.

There are many foods that trigger migraines.  Read more about migraine food triggers.

Caffeine Headaches

Caffeine is contained in many foods not just coffee, (cola, tea, chocolates, coffee) and OTC analgesics.

Caffeine in low doses can increase alertness and energy, but caffeine in high doses can cause headaches and other issues. The over-use of caffeine-containing analgesics often leads to rebound headaches.  Furthermore, individuals who consume significant levels of caffeine regularly are more prone to develop withdrawal headaches when caffeine flow is suddenly stopped.  Read more about caffeine headaches.

Chocolate Headaches, Wine Headaches and More Triggers

Science hasn’t consistently demonstrated any link between chocolate and headaches/migraines, but chocolate has been reported to trigger (not) cause migraine headaches.

Red wine, tyramine (a chemical found in cheese, wine, beer, dry sausage, and sauerkraut), is a culprit.  Monosodium glutamate (MSG) a taste enhancer does its job, but MSG is a neuro excitatory toxin!  No thank you!

Nitrates and nitrites (chemicals found in hot dogs, ham, frankfurters, bacon and sausages) and aspartame , a sugar-substitute sweetener found in diet drinks and snacks, have all been reported to trigger headaches but the science does not always back up that conclusion.

Hormonal Headaches Migraine

Some women who suffer from migraine headaches experience more headaches around the time of their menstrual periods. Other women experience migraine headaches only during the menstrual period.

The term “menstrual migraine” is used mainly to describe migraines that occur in women who have almost all of their headaches from two days before to one day after their menstrual periods.

A woman has a horrible attack for 5 cycles, has 3 cycles without event, and then the last 4 has a migraine. What does that show? Certainly while there are issues when the cycles are changing the chemistry, the event is or can be a trigger, but not necessarily a cause.

More Migraine Triggers

Migraine patients seem to have a lower than normal threshold for light-induced pain. Bright sunlight, television, computer monitors, and flashing lights all have been reported to set off migraine headaches.

So the most important datum you need to know if you are truly concerned about migraine "triggers" is to invest a bit of time and read our free download of Chapters one and two of our best seller Life Beyond Headaches.... to begin understanding what's going on and what you really can do. This book has been the catalyst for thousands in resolving their problem.   It's free, it's our gift and you can even schedule a telephone consultation to speak with one of our Beyond Headaches specialists. 



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written by Dr. Jeff Finnigan

Silent Migraines