Feeling sick or dizzy? Having trouble concentrating or speaking? Seeing flashing lights? If any of these things ring true for you, you may be experiencing migraine symptoms and, from one sufferer to another, they aren’t pleasant.
Millions of people across the globe suffer from migraines, and many feel helpless to prevent their onset.
But not only are there plenty of defined migraine triggers, there are also a number of different types of migraines – knowing which one you are susceptible to could help you spot the common trigger(s).
Trigger #1 Stressful events in your life
Having experienced them myself, I can tell you that life itself can act as a trigger for dreaded migraines. Stress is a pretty common root cause for recurring migraines.
Stressful events put added stress upon your body and mind, meaning that you’re more likely to have a migraine if things are chaotic in your life right now.
Some of the common events that can trigger migraines include:
- Moving house
Trigger #2 Your sleep pattern
It’s said that the former U.S. President, Barack Obama, and current incumbent, Donald Trump, both survive on no more than four hours of sleep a night. I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t survive on that and if I tried it might cause a migraine – because, that’s right, your sleeping pattern also acts as a trigger.
It’s not as simple as having too little sleep – both over and undersleeping can trigger a migraine. The crucial point is that anything that’s out of sync with the pattern your body needs can lead you to have a migraine.
Finding your circadian rhythm won’t stop you from ever experiencing discomfort (depending on the type of migraines you get, it could just happen). However, it aligns your body with its natural sleeping cycle and reduces the risk of it happening again.
Trigger #3 Something in your diet
You are what you eat, and if you want to be someone who suffers from migraines there are loads of foods (and drinks) that can make this happen. Alcohol, processed meats, caffeine, and chocolate are just a few examples of food and drink that can trigger a migraine.
Don’t believe me and think you can carry on eating and drinking what you like? Then trust the opinion of Noah Rosen, MD, the director of New York’s Northwell Health’s Headache Center. Noah says: “while diet alone is rarely the cause of [these] headaches, it may well be involved as a trigger for migraine”.
So, though, having a glass of wine, hamburger, or candy bar may not be the underlying medical reason you’re having a migraine, it’s very possible it spurred it into action.
Trigger #4 Your menstrual cycle
Menstrual cramps are one of nature’s cruel biological tricks played on half of humanity. And while it’s bad enough having to suffer through the pain they cause, it’s not the only way that they hurt you – you’ve got it, your menstrual cycle acts as a trigger for migraines.
It’s said that roughly half the women who suffer from migraines believe they are set off by their menstrual cycle. The reason for this, as you can imagine, is that the rapid hormonal changes put your body out of sync and make it more susceptible to ailments.
Trigger #5 Too much time online
It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t spend more time online than they should – PCs are the tools that allow most people to complete their work, and even more people to unwind when they’re not working. And if that wasn’t enough, there’s your mobile phone – we won’t get into the billions of hours people spend on their phones every day.
Of course, the lighting of your PC and phone screen plays a part – too much synthetic light is just not good for you. However, it’s also how you sit. Too many of us don’t have their chair set correctly when we’re online and this can cause muscle tension, which is one of the things that can lead to migraines.
Different types of migraine
For many people, a migraine is a migraine – it’s a headache that makes you feel sick and puts flashing lights in front of your eyes, at least that’s what happens to me. But like most medical conditions, it’s much too simplistic to think in those terms – there are different migraine types and some are more serious than others. Below is the skinny on the type of migraine you could have:
- Migraine without aura: Headaches and nausea which last between 4-72 hours
- Migraine with aura: Flashing lights, tunnel vision, spots, and sparkles
- Chronic migraine: Headaches that last 15 days and happen every three months
- Hemiplegic migraine: Temporary paralysis on one side of your body
- Migraine with brainstem aura: Trouble speaking and hearing, along with numbness
- Abdominal migraine: Stomach pains, nausea, and difficulty being able to eat
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms discussed in this article, speak to your doctor as soon as possible. They will be able to diagnose whether you’re getting migraines and, if so, what type of migraine. This could help you to establish exactly what’s triggering it and cut the trigger(s) out of your life.
Recommended reading: 5 effective DIY cough remedies