• Ten Tips for Avoiding Migraine Triggers

    on Dec 5th, 2017

At AccuHealth Urgent Care in St. Louis, we often see patients seeking relief from the debilitating effects of migraine headaches, and we’re happy to help. But whether your migraines occur frequently or affect your daily routine only occasionally, there are things you can do to avoid the onset of painful migraine headaches.

Identifying Your Migraine Triggers

Although medical science still has not pinpointed an actual cause of migraines, we have identified some substances and experiences that may trigger the headaches. One of the problems, however, in simply avoiding migraine triggers is that they can vary greatly from person-to-person.

You may experience a migraine after drinking a certain type of wine. Someone else may find that specific perfumes are likely triggers. Still, others can count on developing a migraine whenever they get too little sleep.

The first step in avoiding migraine triggers is identifying what your triggers are by keeping a headache diary to track your migraine symptoms. Be sure to include details about what you were doing, eating, or drinking before your headache started. Also note how much sleep you got the night before, whether anything stressful occurred recently, and any other detail that could help you identify a trigger for your migraine.

Once you’ve identified your triggers, you can often avoid a migraine by simply avoiding the trigger.

Some common migraine triggers to watch for include:

Ten Tips for Avoiding Migraine Triggers

Monitor what you eat and drink. It may seem awkward at first, but get used to checking the ingredients in the foods you buy. Preservatives like MSG or foods made with nitrates, such as pepperoni, hot dogs, and lunch meats are well-known migraine triggers. Whenever possible, avoid foods with these ingredients listed on the label.  

Stick to a regular routine. Migraines are often related to irregular schedules that don’t allow time for healthy meals, routine exercise, or time to unwind after a busy day.

Avoid excessive caffeine intake since too much of this stimulant can cause migraines. However, cutting back suddenly can also trigger a migraine, so reduce your intake slowly over time if you’ve identified caffeine as one of your headache triggers.

Exercise regularly for your health, but avoid strenuous activity without a proper warmup. Sudden physical exertion can be a migraine trigger. If you’ve not worked out in the past or it’s been some time since you last faced a gym routine, check with your doctor first to discuss what activity is appropriate for your current overall health.  

Minimize the stress in your life with yoga or another low-intensity workout that stretches and relaxes your muscles as well as your mind. You can also use the breathing techniques taught in yoga to de-stress and re-energize during a hectic day at work or home.

Get a full night’s sleep every night.  People with poor sleep habits and daytime fatigue are more likely to develop a migraine than those who sleep soundly and well every night. If you’re having difficulty sleeping, talk with your doctor.

When you can’t avoid stress because it’s part of your job, consider counseling and stress management classes to help develop your stress-coping skills. Many patients find success with biofeedback, which is a type of therapy that teaches you techniques for lowering your heart rate and adjusting your breathing to help decrease stress.

Maintain your energy by eating regularly and drinking plenty of water to stay well-hydrated. Try a nutritious diet of fresh fruits and vegetables and unprocessed foods to avoid migraine-triggering additives.

Keep a pair of sunglasses in your car to help avoid migraines triggered by bright sunshine and long hours on the road.

Talk with your doctor if you think your medication may be influencing your migraines, but never stop a medication without speaking to your doctor first.

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AccuHealth Urgent Care
8612 Olive Blvd
Saint Louis, MO 63132
Phone: 314-391-4485
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