OrthoNeuro Blog

10 Jun

What Triggers a Migraine?

by Courtney Gittins

bigstock-Headache-84425660.jpgTriggers are things that can bring on migraines.

They vary from person to person. Often it’s a combination of triggers that can set off an attack.  Triggers may be related to your body, diet, and environment.

 Below is a list of common triggers:

  • Hormonal changes
  • MSG (Monosodium Glutamate)
  • Caffeine (Too much)
  • Stress
  • Loud noises
  • Physical Exertion
  • Strong odors
  • Birth Control
  • Menstruation
  • Head/Neck Injury
  • Red Wines, aged cheeses, preservatives in smoked meats, artificial sweeteners, and dairy products
  • Oversleeping
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Weather
  • Perfume/Colognes


Although there is no concrete cure, there are several migraine treatments available to patients. Since these headaches can stem from anything such as concussions, to motor vehicle accidents, no patient is treated the same. Most teens out grow, and women typically stop having them when going through hormonal changes such as menopause or pregnancy.

Initial treatment can include over the counter (OTC) medication. This can range from acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or just some caffeine. If OTC meds do not help with symptoms, prescription medication may be suggested. Patients all have different symptoms, triggers, current medication and histories.  There are prescriptions that relieve migraine symptoms and assist in prevention. Several daily med options are available to help in preventing future headaches. These include CO Q-10, Magnesium, B12 (Riboflavin), Beta Blockers, TCAD (Tricyclic Antidepressants), and Topamax. Commonly, Triptans are prescribed and relieve symptoms several hours after taking it. The most commonly prescribed triptan is Imitrex (Sumatriptan). 

Another option for sufferers might be Botulinum Toxin Therapy (BOTOX). This is usually suggested when the patient has chronic headaches (More than 8 per month). Most patients also benefit from changes in their lifestyles. Make sure you are on a good diet, having a consistent sleep schedule, hydrating, and relaxing when possible. These are all huge contributors to eliminating the headaches.


Fast Fact:

Celebrities such as Ben Affleck, Janet Jackson, Serena Williams, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar all have suffered from migraines throughout their lifetime

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