What's Triggering Your Migraines?

The Migraine Research Foundation notes that around 12% of all adults in the United States deal with migraines. Migraines are more common in women than in men, but can affect patients of all genders. Your migraines are chronic if you suffer from 15 or more migraine days per month.

Migraines are different from tension headaches, and they can be preceded by an aura phase. When you have a migraine, you may experience symptoms including throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation concentrated on one side of your head, as well as nausea, vomiting, unusual light sensitivity, and sensitivity to sounds and smells.

We’re still learning more about the causes of migraines. At Alpenglow Pain & Wellness, interventional pain management specialist Dr. Nichelle C. Renk can diagnose your migraine headaches and help you put together a plan to manage this condition.

A key part of managing migraines is identifying the triggers that bring on an attack. Keep track of the triggers that precede your migraines, and you may be able to reduce or avoid exposure, potentially freeing you from regular headaches. 

Here are some of the most common triggers that Dr. Renk sees in her new and existing patients managing chronic migraines.

Stress and exhaustion

Migraines can often be triggered by stress, exhaustion, and other forms of physical depletion. Research shows that 50-80% of people with migraines say stress can bring on a migraine.

If you’re not getting enough high-quality sleep, or you’re regularly going hungry or getting dehydrated, the stress on your body can bring on a migraine. Some patients suffer migraines as a result of jet lag, and personal and emotional stresses can trigger them as well. 

Physical activity can also trigger migraines if it’s overly stressful on your system.

Foods, beverages, and additives

Some foods, beverages, and food additives can correlate with a higher risk of migraines. Fasting or insufficient food intake can also be a trigger.

Many common food-related migraine triggers are related to the presence of the amino acid tyramine, which is found in aged and cured foods like cheese or salami, as well as in fermented and pickled dishes. 

Some food additives, like monosodium glutamate (MSG) and the artificial sweetener aspartame, may also be a problem for your migraines.

Beverage choices like alcohol or highly caffeinated drinks trigger migraines for many people. Alcohol is among the most common triggers for migraines, particularly among female patients, with red wine being a trigger for many. Chocolate, which also contains caffeine, is another common trigger food.

Sensory triggers

Smells, sights, and sounds can all trigger migraines. You may also struggle with sensory sensitivity during migraines.

Smells that commonly trigger migraines including perfume, food odors, and cigarette smoke. Exposure to sunlight and other bright, pulsing, or flickering lights trigger migraines for many. For some, even sounds can be a trigger.

Weather changes

Changes in atmospheric pressure related to the weather can profoundly impact your body, and may be a migraine trigger. Weather conditions that can trigger migraines include thunderstorms with lightning, as well as more general changes.

Check the weather forecast if you suffer from migraines. A potentially triggering weather pattern might require you to proceed with caution.

Hormone issues

For female patients, hormones may be the culprit when it comes to migraines. In fact, the monthly fluctuations in female sex hormones may be the reason why women are more likely to suffer from chronic migraines than men.

Hormone-related migraines often occur during menstruation. The use of hormonal contraceptives can worsen migraine symptoms in some patients.

Medication problems

While some medications like opioids and butalbital can effectively manage migraines, issues such as medication overuse can cause migraines. Further, overusing over-the-counter painkillers can even cause your occasional migraines to progress to be chronic.

Dr. Renk can help you effectively manage your migraine medication and reduce your risk of long-term problems.

Dealing with your triggers

Dr. Renk can help you identify your migraine triggers, and develop an effective management plan for your chronic migraines. 

She offers migraine treatments including Botox™ injections, lifestyle-based and medication management strategies, infusions, other forms of alternative medicine, and more.

Call now to schedule your personal consultation with Dr. Renk.

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