7 Migraine Triggers to Avoid

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It’s estimated that 28 million americans suffer from migraines. Migraines areintense headaches that are often accompanied by nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light. They don’t simply come and go; each migraine can last between four hours and three days. Most migraine sufferers know to avoid certain things like dairy, alcohol and food with excessive additives, but there are other external factors that could trigger a migraine. Here are some to watch out for.

1. Change in Routine

For some migraine sufferers, routine is key to keeping the headaches at bay.  Change in sleep patterns, work hours or even holidays can create stress and lead to migraines.

2. Stress

As mentioned above, migraines and stress are strongly linked. Some people report migraines start when stress reduces, sometimes leading to “weekend headaches” after a stressful work week.

3. The Environment 

High altitude, weather changes and humidity can all trigger migraines.

4. Computer Screens

Both the posture you take when sitting in front of a computer and the glare from the screen can lead to migraine pain. Be sure to sit comfortably to avoid muscle tension and use an anti-glare screen.

5. Lack of Food

Insufficient food is one of the main dietary triggers of migraines. Avoid missing meals or snacking on treats high in sugar. Eating small, nutritious snacks throughout the day can help control migraine attacks.

6. Hormonal Change (In Women)

Fluctuation in estrogen may cause headaches in women who suffer from migraines. These women often report an increase in migraines immediately before or during their menstrual cycle, when there is a major drop in estrogen levels.

7. Sensory Overstimulation

Bright lights, loud noises and unusual smells, including perfume and secondhand smoke can trigger migraines. 

Migraine triggers are unique to every individual, and can happen as early as 6 to 8 hours prior to a migraine attack.  To find out more about what could be causing your migraines, along with ways to treat these and other chronic headaches, talk to the experts at The Washington Center for Pain Management.