Migraines interfere with your ability to function from day to day, bringing almost intolerable pain and interrupting important activities like work, school, vacations, and gatherings with family or friends. If you’re lucky, your migraine will dissipate after a few hours; if you’re not, the effects could last for days. Nothing you do helps to lessen the pain, and you might feel nauseous and have blurred vision. Worst of all, you don’t know what triggers these searing headaches. Why do you get migraines? Are there certain migraine triggers that can be avoided? Is there a cause, or is it just an unavoidable fact of life?
No, it’s not. There are several factors that can trigger migraines, though they’re going to be different for everyone. Once you figure out what causes migraines, you can eliminate the trigger and get back to life as a normal human being. Cutting migraine triggers from your life may not stop you from ever getting a migraine again. But in most cases it will mean far less migraines than you’re currently living with, and they may even be less intense.
Migraine Trigger 1: Light
One of the most common migraine triggers is light. Bright sunlight or florescent light can cause migraines in people with sensitive eyes. What this means is that if you’re prone to migraines, you should almost never leave the house without your sunglasses in tow. Sure, if it’s a cloudy day and the sunlight isn’t too bright, you’ll probably be fine. But on a bright summer day, you should wear your sunglasses whenever you go outside if you don’t want to get a migraine.
Migraine Trigger 2: Certain Foods
It’s sad but true: some foods have been known to act as migraine triggers. If you’re prone to migraines, it’s worth experimenting with different foods that you eat regularly. Isolate a food that could potentially be a trigger, and see what happens after you eat it. Aged cheese is a candidate, as is soy sauce or other foods with MSG in them. Alcohol and caffeine can set off a migraine (though caffeine can also help stem a migraine). And, although it hasn’t been proven beyond a doubt, many people who suffer from migraines identify chocolate as a trigger. For the author, it’s hot chocolate.
Cutting one of these foods from your diet is a real bummer, but you have to weigh your options. Is it worth getting a migraine just so you can drink hot chocolate? It it worth cutting hot chocolate if it means an end to your migraines? I say yes, but you have to make your own decision here, people.
Migraine Triggers 3: Eyesight Problems
For some people, recurring migraines is a sign that they need glasses or contacts. If your eyes are straining too hard, it can set off a headache.
Some people say stress causes migraines. I say bull, but if you feel like stress is a trigger for you, it’s probably worth looking into. Others have cited allergies and irregular sleep patterns as migraine triggers. If you’re not getting enough sleep, that could be a factor as well.
If you suffer from frequent headaches, ask your doctor if they can do anything for you. They may prescribe a daily pill you can take to decrease the number of migraines you get.
Migraines are painful and infuriating. But they don’t have to rule your life. With a little experimentation, planning, and care, you can take back your life (and your head) and live migraine-free.