Migraine headaches are pure torture. The best salve for these brain-busting pains is to avoid them in the first place. Common migraine triggers like bright sunshine, stress, alcohol and hot weather are well known – but there are many more sneaky migraine triggers you might not be aware of. If you suffer from migraines, keeping track of your diet, lifestyle and concurrent symptoms for a while may help you pinpoint what is causing the headaches. Keep an eye out for the following sneaky migraine triggers in your life.
1. Leftovers. Food containing protein that has been cooked starts to break down quickly, producing tyramine – a naturally occurring compound that nevertheless can cause big headaches. Tyramine in leftovers increases over time – but in general, you shouldn’t eat protein-rich foods after they’ve been hanging around for more than 48 hours. Plan your meals ahead to avoid food waste.
2. Caffeine. Caffeine is a wonder drug used in the majority of migraine medicines to perk up your brain – and it can often stop a headache in its tracks. For some migraine sufferers, however, caffeine can actually cause a headache. Cut out coffee, tea, chocolate and other sources of caffeine if you suspect an issue.
3. Ponytail. Wearing a ponytail, bun, topknot or any tight hairstyle puts stress on your scalp’s nerves and muscles, which can lead to headaches. Repeatedly wearing your hair in these styles can also cause patterned baldness. Let your locks flow free to reduce brain strain, or just don’t pull your hair so tight.
4. Flowers. Even pleasant smells can trigger a migraine headache if they’re strong enough. You may love the scent of roses, lilies or lilac flowers, but those sweet smells may be causing your headaches. If you suffer from migraines, avoid any strong smells – even sweet, 100% natural ones.
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5. Skipping Meals. When you’re hungry, your blood sugar drops and your body becomes unbalanced. Your brain tries to correct the problem itself, and the nerve action may induce a migraine. Don’t let yourself get too hungry, and eat numerous smaller meals throughout the day if it helps to keep your blood sugar levels balanced.
6. Computer. Do you spend your day staring at a screen? The glare of computers and TVs can stimulate the release of inflammatory neurotransmitters, which can lead to a migraine. If you spend extended hours at the computer, purchase an inexpensive glare reducer – they’re made for all kinds of equipment. Skip the TV time and read a book instead.
7. Aunt Flow. Adding to the joys of menstruation, the fluctuating cycles of hormones in the female body can easily cause headaches, either around the time of ovulation or concurrent with PMS. If your migraines hit at the same time each month, consider continuous birth control and free yourself from the ongoing onset of monthly migraines. Talk to your doctor about your best options.
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