LIVING WITH MIGRAINE:
PART II: WHAT TRIGGERS MIGRAINE ATTACKS?
It is not yet known what exactly causes migraine. However, there are certain environmental and physical factors that can trigger the attack of migraine.
Stress: this is the common triggering factor for migraine. Too much thinking and too much activity can cause some tensed muscles. This tension can build up and produce some chemical reactions in your body to trigger your migraine. Also, sudden stop of a highly-stressful activity such as beating a deadline or answering to an emergency situation can also trigger migraine attacks. You may need to undergo stress management to prevent these attacks like a massage, soothing music or a warm bath with aromatherapy to help soothe your frazzled nerves. When a major event has ended, and you know you will have your attack, have your medication handy just in case.
Medications: overuse of over-the-counter migraine drugs can cause rebound attacks – attacks that are far worse than the initial treated attack. Non-compliance can also trigger migraine attacks. Other medications such as nitroglycerin can cause migraine headaches because of sudden drop of blood pressure due to vasodilation. It is important that you regulate your medication and be prepared for the effects by resting or lying down when an attack is triggered.
Hormonal changes: particularly seen in women, fluctuating estrogen levels during menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause can trigger migraine headaches. In
Weather changes: sudden change in temperature can also trigger migraine attacks. In comparison, an environment that is too hot triggers migraine more than an environment that is too cold. Make sure you have means to cool down to prevent the attack. Cool showers twice a day can help cool you down to prevent any attacks.
Dehydration: because water is a good thermal regulator, dehydration can cause your body to easily heat up during warm weather or hot conditions. Make sure you drink at least 8 glasses or 2 liters of water daily to prevent this from happening.
Food: aspartame, MSG, caffeine and tyramine have been known to trigger migraine attacks. Tyramine can be found in aged cheese or wine, while MSG is commonly found in processed and preserved foods.
Environment: some people find that they have migraine attacks when they are exposed to smoke and strong scents such as perfume, paint, and gasoline.
Sleep pattern: too much sleep and lack of sleep can also trigger your migraine. This can also include change in sleeping schedule like sleeping too early or sleeping too late.
Physical exertion: too much physical activity like rigorous exercise, constant moving from one area to another, and even sex is attributed to migraine attacks. It would be best to regulate the amount of exercise you get in a day to prevent physical exhaustion. Migraine medication taken 30 minutes as a prophylaxis before sex can help prevent an attack.
Understanding these triggers can help you control your environment in order for you to lessen if not prevent the attacks of migraine. To know which triggering factor has induced your migraine attack, write down in a journal what activities you were doing before the attack happened. You will notice that an attack is precipitated by a combination of several factors than just one. Take steps in avoiding those triggering factors so you can help lessen the numbers of attacks that you experience in a week.
Warren Tattersall has been a full time nutritional consultant for over a decade and works with people all over the world to help them improve their health, increase their personal energy levels and to use supplements to assist with diet related health issues.
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