What causes migraines and when is it time to seek extra support? How often is too often for a migraine?
Anyone who has experienced a migraine knows that they are much more than just a terrible headache. In fact, the pounding or pulsating headache is just the one of a list of symptoms including nausea, vomiting, vision disturbances, light sensitivity, fatigue, and neck pain, which can last anywhere from a couple of hours to a few days.
Recurrent migraines significantly impair daily activities and can take a significant toll on the sufferer. Getting clear on your migraine triggers can help you reduce the frequency and severity of your migraine attacks.
Some categories to explore when evaluating your migraine triggers include:
Women can be particularly susceptible to migraines caused by hormonal fluctuations, particularly close or during menstruation. If someone only experiences migraines within 2-3 days of starting and finishing their menstrual cycle, it is likely that they are experiencing a specific type of migraine called menstrual migraines
Common dietary triggers for migraines include foods with a high histamine load such as pickled or fermented foods, caffeine, alcohol, coffee, dried fruits, aged meats, dairy, preservatives, and chocolate. Referring to a healthcare professional and considering an elimination diet may help you pinpoint specific foods or drinks which are causing migraine attacks
Accumulation of stressors can contribute to migraine attacks including positive stressors like exercise. If you notice that migraines tend to pop up during stressful periods in your life, it might be worth exploring stress management opportunities with your treatment team.
Not only is too much or too little sleep a migraine trigger, but people who experience migraines are between 2 to 8 times more likely to have a sleep disorder (such as sleep apnea or insomnia) when compared with the general public (American Migraine Foundation, 2019). Working with a sleep dentist and having a sleep study can support you in addressing this underlying cause of migraines.
From atmospheric pressure to flickering lights, our environment can play a big role in migraine health. It is also worth noting whether you were exposed to specific perfumes or essential oils which may have contributed to your migraine.
Migraine frequency can range from once a year to a couple of times a month. If you suspect you have or are experiencing a migraine for the first time, it’s a good idea to check in with your GP to step through the diagnostic process. For seasoned migraine sufferers, it’s advisable to consult with a GP regarding any changes in the presentation or frequency of migraines.
We recommend speaking with your GP if you are experiencing regular or debilitating migraines to discuss possible treatment plans.
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