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Are You a Migraineur or a Connoisseur?

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Migraine  related image Photo: Getty Images

The word migraineur (person who experiences migraines) reminds me of the word connoisseur (an expert in a specific field). Although there's no connection between the two words, if you are a migraineur, you should also be an connoisseur of sorts so you can find the proper treatment for your migraines.

Years ago, my family physician told me that migraines were caused from stress. Since then, I've heard many researchers claim that stress is not a migraine trigger. My doctor was not a neurologist, but he wanted to relieve me of my chronic migraines, so he gave me a prescription for a triptan drug.

Approximately a half hour after taking the triptan medication, I began having chest pains. Triptans constrict blood vessels in the brain and relieve the swelling that may cause migraines. But in my case, it also constricted the blood vessels in my heart, which caused the chest pains. I was referred to a cardiologist and luckily, my heart was fine. However, I was still having migraines. At that point, I didn't want any other medication. Instead, I took it upon myself to let go of the biggest cause of stress in my life, and voila, my headaches went away.

Some researchers believe that migraines are not caused by stress. Back in 2004, the International Headache Society removed stress as a trigger for migraines and added it to a list of things that exacerbate migraines. Since then, according to the National Institution of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), "Anxiety, stress, or relaxation after stress can also be triggers". As a migraineur, I don't care how they list it, stress causes migraines and that's that.

Medicinet.com defined a migraine as the following: "Usually, periodic attacks of headaches on one or both sides of the head. These may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, increased sensitivity of the eyes to light (photophobia), increased sensitivity to sound (phonophobia), dizziness, blurred vision, cognitive disturbances, and other symptoms. Some migraines do not include headache, and migraines may or may not be preceded by an aura."

The Mayo Clinic said, "Migraines may be caused by changes in the trigeminal nerve, a major pain pathway.

Add a Comment3 Comments

I agree, I think most of us have more than one trigger, especially when it comes to food allergies. For some, it may be impossible to find each and every trigger. In Dar's case (in the first comment) she isn't sure what triggered her migraine but she seems to have figured out how to get rid of it for the time being. Bravo - Dar!! It's the trial and error that helps us know our own bodies.

June 4, 2011 - 1:59pm
EmpowHER Guest

I do believe that stress was a trigger for your migraine, but it's not a trigger for my migraine. There are so many different sets of triggers for individuals with migraine. I think it's impossible to point out one single trigger for everyone.

June 3, 2011 - 11:00am

I thought that for years I was migraine free, but lately I've felt auras coming on under different circumstances. I was writing on FB a few moments ago, and had some of the early symptoms, but I wasn't under any stress at the time! I rubbed my temples and that seemed to stop it from going any further. But I wonder how the "experts" would explain this!

June 3, 2011 - 9:30am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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