Common Headache and Migraine Triggers

Figuring out exactly what triggers symptoms is one of the ongoing struggles of migraine and headache patients. While no two patients experience migraine the same, there are some general areas of consideration when narrowing down the list.

Specific Foods

There is a naturally occurring compound called tyramine that has been identified as a major trigger for migraine and headache patients. Tyramine-rich foods include meats, fruits and vegetables, primarily those that are aged, smoked, pickled or marinated. These foods can include pickles, tofu, sauerkraut and cheeses. Additionally, foods made with monosodium glutamate (MSG) can also induce headache. While commonly used in Chinese foods, MSG is also found in packaged, processed foods such as chips and salad dressings.

Dehydration and Hunger

Dehydration is a very common trigger for headache and migraine, making it absolutely imperative for patients to drink water consistently throughout the day. Hunger is another trigger, as it causes blood sugar to drop, resulting in adrenal fatigue and muscle contractions.

Poor Posture

Many patients who suffer from headache and migraine struggle to keep their necks upright and projected forward, often due to looking down at mobile devices. Poor neck posture can also occur while sleeping, specifically if the head is propped up on too many pillows.

Weather and Temperature Changes

Weather changes are common triggers for headache and migraine. This can be caused by barometric fluctuations that activate the trigeminal nerve in the sinuses, or even air pressure changes sensed by the inner ear. Drastic temperature changes are also shown to trigger headache and migraine.

While these headache and migraine triggers are common, there are many other potential triggers. Determining personal triggers is a great starting point to learn to cope with and treat headache and migraine disease.