According to Migraine.com, over 37 million adults in the United States suffer from migraine headaches. 2 to 3 million of these cases are chronic. Because of the frequency of this condition, it is important for individuals prone to migraine pain to consider the possible triggers for pain.
A migraine trigger is typically an environmental or outside force that can set off the migraine pain. Knowing what external sources trip this wire for you can be a big step in preventing and treating these often debilitating headaches.
Here are some common triggers for migraines:
- Stress or how you handle stress
- The consumption of drugs or alcohol
- Physical activity
- Sexual activity
- Factors in the environment, such as weather or allergens
- Sleep patterns
- Skipping or not eating meals
- Certain smells
Food is also one of the most common causes of migraine pain.
It is important to look at food triggers separately from some of the other environmental causes. Generally, a person whose migraines are triggered by foods can avoid them in their diet. The most common foods that have been known to cause migraine headaches include:
- Citrus fruit
- Red wine or beer
Sometimes other food sensitivities contribute to migraines. Some migraines can be triggered by cured meats, MSG, artificial sweeteners, fatty foods, caffeine, frozen foods like ice cream, or other dairy products.
The best way to determine your migraine triggers is to keep a diary of your migraine pain. Each time you experience a migraine, write down the things you did just before the pain began. You should begin to notice some patterns forming. Some of the triggers, such as a hormone imbalance, may require additional treatment from a doctor but others like food intolerance can be eliminated by avoiding the offending food. If your migraines are chronic in nature—where attacks occur regularly over the course of several months—you may wish to speak with a pain specialist to determine the right treatment for you.
Have you found a correlation between your migraine pain and certain foods or environmental triggers?
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