What Causes Migraine Headaches?

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Migraine is a trifle-looking disorder, which can devastate one’s life! It generally occurs with a shooting pain on one side of the head and shows other troublesome symptoms too, which disturb the patient’s life. Like most of the diseases, migraine too is complicated, in terms of its causes, symptoms, and treatment, because there are various causes differing from patient to patient; therefore, while deciding the treatment for migraine headaches, one will have to carefully observe what causes migraines, particularly in oneself!

Many day-to-day activities and substances can cause migraine headaches and it depends on your sensitivity that your migraine will get triggered with those things or not. Some get migraines with red wine, while some others get it as caffeine withdrawal. Some get it due to emotional stress, while still some others have it when they skip meals.

If you want to understand what causes migraines to you, for effectively treating your migraine headaches, the most correct way is to maintain a headache diary and note your headache patterns in it. You should jot down each and every detail of before and during migraine attack – like what you ate, what exactly you were doing, what amount of sleep you had got the previous night, had something stressful occurred during that day, and so on.

Generally, people are sensitive to:

  • Emotional stress
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Change in sleep pattern
  • Exercise
  • Skipping meals
  • Menstruation
  • Some particular foods and beverages
  • Excessive caffeine or its withdrawal
  • Smoking
  • Bright and/or blinking lights
  • Some particular smells
  • Changed weather conditions

Some foods, beverages and even food additives trigger migraine headaches. Tyramine, a natural ingredient in aged cheese, red wine and some processed foods, food additives like nitrites and nitrates, found in ham, hot dogs, sausages, other processed or cured meats, and salads in salad outlets, and MSG (Monosodium glutamate) which is a food additive – especially added to Chinese food, are all migraine causes in some or the other migraine patient. Alcohol too is a migraine trigger, either due to the impurities it contains, or because of the metabolites, our body produces from it. Some other foods that are triggers for migraines are bread and other baked stuff, dried fruits, dried or smoked fish, pizza, chicken livers, peanuts, potato chips and alcohols like beer, red wine, whiskey, and champagne.

When you keep the headache diary, you can easily track the pattern of your headaches and thus can avoid the things which cause migraines to you. Other things you can do to avoid migraines are, eating regularly, doing exercise carefully, getting enough sleep, and managing stress. Also, if you are in a habit of having excessive caffeine, don’t withdraw it abruptly, as caffeine withdrawal too is a cause of migraine.

Thus by changing your lifestyle by bringing more regularity to it and avoiding your specific migraine causes, you can at least control your migraine headaches. And of course, proper consultation of your healthcare provider is also important to diminish them.

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