Unusual Migraine Triggers

The excruciating pain a migraine headache causes is often so severe, the individual who experiences it can hardly think or function at all. If you’ve never felt one before, you should consider yourself lucky, as it is quite debilitating and very unpleasant.

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Migraines are not just ordinary headaches that usually go away on their own after some food, rest or head rubs. It is a neurological disease that can be either acute or chronic, depending on the individual. It creates intense, throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation, usually on one side of the head. Along with the immense pain, migraine sufferers often experience other symptoms as well, such as sensitivity to light and sound, irritability, visual auras, difficulty focusing, nausea, and vomiting. All of these symptoms greatly impact a person’s daily schedule and overall quality of life. They affect approximately 12% of the population, with women being more prone to it than men.

While common triggers for migraines include stress, vision problems, withdrawal from caffeine or nicotine, an allergic reaction, lack of quality sleep, natural hormonal changes and more, there are also less common triggers that can contribute to it. Having a greater understanding of these symptoms is crucial in identifying and managing the potential triggers that can lead to an episode.

Keep reading to discover some of the less common migraine triggers, along with risk factors and effective treatment methods.


Uncommon Migraine Triggers

The following substances and external factors have been found to trigger an episode in some people, with varying levels of severity:

~ Histamine and MSG: Foods that contain histamine and / or monosodium glutamate (MSG).

~ Artificial sweeteners: Certain artificial sweeteners, such as dextrose, maltodextrin, aspartame and sucralose.

~ Food additives: Preservatives, food dyes, and flavor enhancers like nitrates, sulfites, and tyramine, have been found to be a culprit.

~ Strong odors: Perfumes, colognes, cleaning products, and strong-smelling chemicals.

~ Flickering lights: Rapidly flickering lights or exposure to bright and intense lights, such as fluorescent lights or strobe lights.

~ Changes in altitude: Rapid changes in altitude, such as during air travel or driving through mountains.

~ Barometric pressure changes: Sudden changes in barometric pressure, which often occur before a storm.

~ Excessive exercise: This one might seem strange, but it’s true – Engaging in intense physical activity or sudden vigorous exercise that the body is not used to, can be a trigger.

~ Gum and teeth problems: If you don’t brush your teeth often enough, or have sensitive teeth and recently ate something very sugary, salty or acidic, this can lead to an episode as well.

It’s important to note that triggers can vary greatly between individuals. Therefore, what may trigger a migraine in one person may not affect another.

Common Risk Factors

Several risk factors are associated with migraines, which can increase a person’s susceptibility to developing migraines and their triggers. These risk factors include a family history of migraines, age, gender, and certain medical conditions.

Hormonal changes, particularly in women during menstruation or menopause, can also increase the risk of migraines. Understanding these common risk factors can help individuals take proactive measures to manage their triggers and reduce the frequency and severity of an attack.

Treatment Options

When it comes to treating migraines, there are various approaches that individuals can explore. No one treatment is suitable for everyone, so it’s crucial to choose one that best suits you.

The available treatment options can be broadly categorized into conventional approaches and alternative methods. Conventional approaches include over-the-counter pain relievers, prescription medications, and preventive medications.

For example, Triptans, a class of medications specifically designed to treat migraines, are commonly prescribed for acute attacks. Preventive medications, on the other hand, are taken regularly to reduce the frequency and severity of migraines.

Conventional Approaches

In addition to medications, conventional approaches to migraine treatment can also include lifestyle modifications and self-care practices. These can include maintaining a regular sleep schedule, managing stress through techniques like meditation or yoga, and avoiding known triggers.

It is also important to create a calm and soothing environment during migraine attacks, with minimal sensory stimuli. You can achieve this by laying in a dark room, shutting off the lights and closing the window. Some people also find some relief by listening to special frequency tracks that are designed to soothe your brain and reduce the agony.

Alternative Methods

In addition to conventional approaches, there are also alternative methods that some individuals find helpful in managing migraines. These can include acupuncture, biofeedback, herbal supplements, and relaxation techniques. Acupuncture involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body to alleviate pain and promote well-being. Biofeedback uses electronic sensors to monitor and provide feedback on bodily functions, helping individuals learn to control physiological responses and reduce migraines.

Some herbal supplements, such as butterbur and feverfew, have shown promise in reducing the frequency and severity of migraines. Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises and progressive muscle relaxation, can be super helpful as well.

Final Thoughts

Migraines typically start out mild at first, but the longer it goes untreated, the worse it gets. So if you feel a migraine developing, take action right away.

Additionally, if you’re unsure of what may be causing your attacks, it can be very helpful to keep a migraine diary to jot down the details of your episode and what you did or ate beforehand. This will quickly enable you to identify patterns and triggers to avoid whenever possible, thereby improving your quality of life.

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