What Causes Your Migraine?
Migraine Causes: One theory of what causes migraines is an imbalance of a brain chemical (serotonin) that causes narrowing of blood vessels in the head so that the blood supply to the brain is disrupted. Migraines can be caused by a variety of things, and when you add in severe headaches, the list of migraine and severe headache causes can be quite lengthy. The migraine causes are not clear but it is a common perception that anxiety and stress are the two factors that make a migraine worse.
Have a look at some of the surprising migraine triggers that might help you out in knowing your cause of headache.
Migraine or painful headaches is a clinical condition characterized by complex and wide variety of symptoms. Migraine triggers are any events, changes, physical acts or external stimulus that result into migraine attack within short span of time (around 6-8 hours time interval). It is not always easy to identify a trigger and almost any factor can predispose an individual to a migraine attack.
Top 10 factors triggering your migraine headache
Routine changes – Changes in sleep pattern such as missing sleep or sleeping too much and also cha
nges resulted from long journeys (jet lag) or pleasant holiday changes have been found to contribute your migraine attack. One can prevent migraine headaches by maintaining a regular schedule for carrying out daily activities that include sleeping and waking at same time daily (even on weekends).
Environment – Changes in weather – hot or cold or atmospheric pressure – can trigger headache. Light sensitivity (photophobia) caused by bright light or flashing & fluorescent light and loud noise (phonophobia) are also triggers of migraine headache. The best way to prevent such headaches is to wear dark glasses on bright sunny day and minimize dehydration.
Food – Tyramine containing foods like chocolates, banana, cheese, vinegar, yoghurt, soy sauce, fermented foods, red wine, citrus fruits, coffee & leftover foods are found to cause shooting pain in your head. Food additives or chemicals present in some food products like monosodium glutamate, sulphites, nitrates, tannins and aspartame are also implicated to cause migraine attack.
Skipping meals – Your head may start to ache if you skip meals or eat a sugary snack when hungry instead of having a balanced diet. Insufficient food or sweets are found to cause a dip in your blood sugar, thereby spiking your headache. In order to avoid hunger elated migraine attacks, eat small and nutritious meals at regular intervals.
Hormonal changes in woman – Hormonal fluctuations caused during pregnancy, menstruation or menopause are quite troublesome for women as they can trigger headaches. Hormonal medications such as oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy may worsen migraine in some; while some report decrease in frequency of migraine attack after taking these drugs.
Alcohol & Smoking – Alcoholic beverages ranging from red wine, dark beer to whiskey and bourbon are believed to trigger migraine attack. It is recommended that such drinks should be taken in moderation or avoided completely if it has been found to trigger migraine pain in the past. Active and passive smoking, both, are common migraine triggers. The nicotine present in smoke acts on blood vessels and the smoke causes irritation of nerves in nose and throat.
Stress – Emotional stress, anxiety, mental fatigue, lifestyle changes, excitement or even grief are all responsible for migraine attack. The let-down period after stress is also found to be a potential headache trigger. The best way to calm down your migraine pain is to identify the stress and try to avoid the possible cause by practicing stress reduction techniques that suits you.
Exercise – The weirdest thing about exercise it that can act as a preventive option for migraine (regular physical activity stimulates body’s painkillers for general health and well-being) and at the same time can act as a trigger for headache. Sudden and strenuous exercises, sexual activity or physical labor are all causes of migraine headache.
Strong scents – Unusual and strong odors such as perfumes, colognes, paint thinner, cleaning products, certain flowers, etc are the common cause of migraine after stress in men. While the reason for this is unclear, it is believed that the odors act on the nervous system.