8 Potential Causes of Your Migraine

Are you one of the around 35 million migraine sufferers in the US? If so, maybe you’ve pinned down what triggers your migraines. If you haven’t figured out your triggers, keep reading for eight potential causes of your migraine.

1. Stress

Stress puts a tremendous amount of strain on your body. It taxes your endocrine system, which produces hormones. It also taxes your cardiovascular and nervous systems. It can trigger weight gain, sleep problems, heart problems, and migraines. Fortunately, there is a lot you can do to minimize stress, such as regular exercise, meditation, and even changing jobs.

2. Tiredness

Sleep is a great reset button for human beings. A good night with eight hours of regular sleep gives your body a chance to heal up. Your blood sugar regulates itself more effectively. It also serves as a mood booster. If you regularly get too little sleep, it puts a strain on your body and brain. Even worse, it can set off migraines.

3. TMJ/Sleep Apnea

While separate conditions, many people who suffer from one also suffer from the other. That’s a double-dose of migraine badness. TMJ causes problems like teeth grinding, even when asleep. That can cause tension through the face, head, and neck, which can trigger the trigeminal nerve, which is thought to contribute to migraines. Sleep apnea reduces quality sleep, which can also trigger migraines. Fortunately, you can seek treatment at TMJ treatment Raleigh NC or a similar clinic.

4. Medication Overuse

Many people with migraines get prescriptions for triptan medications. While fairly fast-acting and effective, doctors recommend limiting their use. When used too often, you can get what’s called a rebound headache or migraine. The standard nine-dose prescription for triptan medications helps limit this problem. Taking them more than two days a week, however, may also cause rebound headaches.

5. Alcohol/Dehydration

Another potential cause for your migraine is alcohol. The exact relationship between migraines and alcohol isn’t entirely clear but likely links back to dehydration. Alcohol leaches fluid from your body, which leaves you dehydrated. Dehydration is a common trigger for many migraine sufferers.

6. Severe Hunger

Do you find yourself skipping meals because you’re too busy or just trying to lose weight? You may need to rethink that approach if you get migraines on a regular basis, as hunger can seemingly trigger them. One working theory is that low blood sugar may contribute to migraines. That doesn’t mean you must give up your diet, just eat small meals with some protein and veggies or fruit. Some level of hunger is okay. You just want to avoid getting shaky from it.

7. Hormonal Changes

For women, at least, there is a known connection between their hormones and migraines. Varying levels of estrogen, particularly around a woman’s period, can serve as a trigger for regular headaches and for more severe migraines. In a bit of sad irony, hormone-based birth control and estrogen replacement therapies can make migraines more or less of a problem, depending on the woman.

8. Sensory Triggers

Your senses themselves can work against you in terms of migraines. Bright light, in particular, can trigger or make migraines even worse. Persistent loud noises, such as from machinery, can do it as well. Strong or chemical smells also cause them in some people. Think in terms of odors like cigarette smoke, nail polish, nail polish remover, perfumes, and vehicle exhaust.

While the exact mechanics of migraines still elude doctors and researchers, you can do yourself a favor by remaining mindful of triggers. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle with enough sleep will go a long way toward limiting your migraines, even if it won’t prevent them entirely.

In this article

Join the Conversation