Photo: Getty Images
If migraine headaches are affecting your life, you need to explore and recognize the triggers.
For example, you're out to lunch and are having a salad with some feta cheese sprinkled on top. Feta cheese could be one trigger. Add a little wine with that cheese and there's another possible trigger. Having salad and wine at the same table with an exasperating boss could be a third trigger. At that point, you are ready to go home because you have a raging migraine headache.
It's difficult to pinpoint what exactly triggers a migraine and, consequently, you may have several triggers. The following is a list of some migraine triggers provided by the Mayo Clinic and my experience with each one:
Hormonal changes: I would count on a migraine at the first and fifth day of my period every month. The fluctuation of estrogen is a particularly common migraine trigger. I'm allergic to Motrin, but I hear that provides relief in some women. Personally, I would have to call in sick, place a cold pack on my head and rest quietly in a dark room.
Foods: red wine and alcohol in general would bring on a migraine, but I have found that drinking lots of water before, during and after a night out helped tremendously. Alcohol is dehydrating so it's important to remember that before going to a function where you may be indulging. Other food triggers include aged cheeses, chocolate, aspartame, overuse of caffeine, and monosodium glutamate.
Stress: anxiety is difficult for to control but I'm learning new holistic methods such as breathing, meditation, yoga, and massage therapy.
Sensory stimuli: in my case, my sense of smell becomes particularly perceptive just before a migraine begins. I suppose I could call it an aura. When I notice a strong odor but other people can't smell it, I know something unpleasant is about to happen. I used to ignore it but now practice the deep breathing technique or take a pill.
Changes in wake-sleep pattern: if I don't get enough sleep or go to bed late and sleep in, I'm usually doomed by a migraine the entire next day.