Migraine Triggers And Risk Factors: The Quick Guide

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Migraines can come on quickly and, seemingly, out of the blue without any warning. However, if you’ve had migraines for a while you start to notice signs when a migraine attack is on its way. Although migraines are not fully understood, we know the environment and genetics are involved. Identifying and avoiding your triggers can help you prevent future attacks.

So on to the nitty gritty…

Migraine Triggers And Risk Factors

Migraine Triggers

Related: 10 Signs You’re Having A Migraine

migraine triggers and risk factors
Soft cheeses and nuts are a migraine trigger for some people.

Migraine Risk Factors

Related: 10 Effective Treatments For Migraines

 

migraine triggers and risk factors

The Takeaway

Knowing your migraine triggers and the risk factors involved is an excellent preventative tool. Also, keeping a migraine diary can help you recognize common patterns. I’ve found an app that serves this purpose and I absolutely love it! It’s called Migraine Buddy and it is free.

You can learn more about it here: Migraine Buddy: THE App For People With Migraines

Also, if you have a child who suffers from migraines you might find Migraine Headaches In Children: Types, Symptoms & Treatments helpful.


What are your migraine triggers? 

Please share in the comment section below. I love hearing from you and will respond to you as soon as possible!


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Migraine Headaches In Children: Types, Symptoms & Treatments

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Migraine headaches are quite common. If fact, more than 3 million cases are reported each year in the United States. Migraines include a host of neurological symptoms. They tend to run in families and are often debilitating. Consequently, the symptoms often incapacitate sufferers, causing loss of work and time spent missing out on life.

For example, when I get a migraine I’m so out of it from the intense pain, nausea and blindness caused by the aura that literally all I can do is treat it and lie down until it subsides, which is usually hours later. And after that, I typically don’t feel like myself again until two or three days later. Can you relate?

According to the Migraine Research Foundation, about 10% of school-age children suffer from migraine headaches. It’s hard enough for adults who get migraines, but for children, it can be especially difficult and scary.

So what else do we know about these excruciating headaches? Specifically, there are several types of migraines.

7 Types Of Migraines

  • migraine with aura
  • migraine without headache (or typical aura without headache)
  • chronic migraine
  • migraine without aura
  • hemiplegic migraine (a type of migraine with aura)
  • migraine with brainstem aura (formerly basilar migraine)
  • retinal migraine (also called ocular or ophthalmic migraine)
migraine headaches in children
Artificial colors and flavors can trigger a migraine.

Next, there are many common migraine triggers.

Migraine Triggers

  • changes in sleep patterns, such as sleeping too much or too little
  • stress and anxiety
  • changes in caffeine consumption, such as drinking too much or too little
  • teeth grinding
  • changes in routines
  • red wine
  • cheese
  • changes in exercise routines, such as a lack of exercise or working out too intensely when you’re not used to it
  • hunger
  • oral contraceptives
  • artificial colors and flavorings in foods
  • environmental changes such as weather, loud noises, strong smells, flickering lights
  • computer screens
  • additives in food, such as aspartame and nitrates found in processed meats
  • dehydration from not drinking enough water

Related: 9 Surprising Benefits Of Lemon Water

Migraine Headaches In Children

Now that we know the different types of migraines as well as migraine triggers, let’s take a look at the SlideShare presentation below to learn more about migraine headaches in children.

Presentation provided by Diamond Headache Clinic

The Takeaway

In short, as you can see from the slide presentation above there are many special considerations concerning children and migraines. I hope this post helped you better understand the types, symptoms and triggers of migraine headaches.

For more information about migraines you may want to read:


Do you or your child get migraines? What treatments (natural or medical) help?

Please share your comments in the comment section below. I love to hear from you and will respond to you as soon as possible!


The information provided in this article has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to treat, prevent, diagnose or cure any disease or health problem.

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Migraine Buddy: THE App For People With Migraines

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I just learned about this amazing new app and wanted to share it with you guys right away! It’s called Migraine Buddy, it’s free and available for both iOS and Android devices. I’ve checked out all the features and I’m impressed. Below is more about the app and what it can do for you.

migraine buddy
Photo courtesy Google Play

Migraine Buddy App

This free app is an all-inclusive tool to help you track, manage and prevent migraines. And, best of all, it was designed by some really smart people, including scientists and neurologists. Who better to help with migraines, right?!

Here a few of the features:

  • Record your migraines, past and present
  • Easy to use format
  • Helps user identify migraine triggers, symptoms, pain intensity, frequency and duration
  • Record medications and other remedies used for prevention and relief
  • Tracks sleep patterns
  • Allows you to interact with other “Buddies” about your migraines
  • Gives personalized reports to help monitor treatment efficacy
  • Has a Notes section for recording mood, foods eaten, weather and more
  • Easy to use questionnaires

The Takeaway

As you can see, the app offers many functions for the user. And I don’t know how it tracked my sleep so accurately, but it did; I compared it to my Fitbit Alta HR, which I wear all the time, and it was only about 2 minutes different. I don’t sleep with my phone in bed either due to the EMFs; my cell was on the floor all night. So, I’m not sure how this feature works exactly, but it was surprisingly precise.

If you’re like me, I have many migraines that are triggered by sleep deprivation, so I’m loving the accuracy of this feature! And the app is much easier and more thorough than keeping a hand-written migraine diary. So, check it out and let me know what you think!

More Information About Migraines


Do you get migraines? What helps you most when you get one?

Share your thoughts below – I love hearing from you!


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10 Effective Treatments For Migraines

Treatments for migraines
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Did you know over 12% of the population has migraines? (This includes children.)  🙁

Migraines include an array of neurological symptoms. They also tend to run in families and are debilitating, causing a loss of productivity in work and missing out on life in general.

Treatments for Migraines

There are a variety of treatment options for people who suffer from migraines. Personally, I’ve tried a variety of treatments, exploring both holistic and traditional medicine. For me, a combination of both works best.

My current treatment regimen includes taking steps to prevent my migraine triggers. For example, I know that skipping meals is one of my triggers, so I am mindful of this and try not to go too long without eating.

The bright sun or fluorescent lights can also be a problem, so I wear dark sunglasses when I’m outside, and my sweet husband had the windows on my car tinted to the darkest shade that is legal. 🙂

I also take supplements that have been proven to help migraine sufferers (more on this later).

When I have a migraine, I immediately drink a cup of coffee (Caution: Caffeine is a trigger for some people) and close the shades in our bedroom if I’m at home. If the radio is on I turn it off to eliminate noise.

I take anti-nausea medicine (Zofran), 3 or 4 Ibuprofen, and migraine medicine, Fioricet with Codeine. I’ve tried different medicines over the years, including Excedrin Migraine (which didn’t seem to do anything for me) but this combination seems to help me the most.

Even though we have room-darkening curtains, I usually cover my eyes with a washcloth to block out every bit of light. If you get migraines you may understand how painful light is.

I’ve also found that applying a cool compress to my head and face can help. I use essential oils as well. My favorites for migraines include peppermint, M-Grain, frankincense, lavender, and PanAway.

What about you? What treatments help you when you get a migraine?

As always, please consult with your doctor to help you decide what treatments are best for you.

Here are 10 that may help relieve your migraines.

Natural Treatments

  • Hydration – Drink a lot of water to keep your body hydrated. Dehydration is a trigger for some people.
  • Diet – Avoid foods which contain MSG, nitrates and nitrites, such as hot dogs.
  • Acupuncture – is effective for many. In one study, people receiving several acupuncture treatments reported fewer migraines and less side effects (1).
  • Stress management – including yoga, relaxation techniques and Tai Chi
  • Massage therapy – You can do this yourself by massaging your temples or asking someone to rub your shoulders, neck and back (2).
  • Supplements – Coenzyme Q-10, Magnesium, melatonin and Vitamin B-2 may help prevent migraines and/or make them less intense.

Medical Treatments

  • Pain relievers – NSAIDS, aspirin and Tylenol may be effective for reducing pain, especially combined with other treatments.
  • Triptans – This group of drugs includes Imitrex, Maxalt and Zomig.
  • Antidepressants – These are a possible option for people suffering from anxiety or depression.
  • Tricyclics – This group of drugs includes nortriptyline and amytriptyline. These are given in low doses daily to treatments for migrainesprevent migraines and are good for people who trouble sleeping.

Experiencing recurring migraines is difficult, but with all the treatment options there is hope for relief and a better quality of life.


I would love to hear from you about your experiences with migraines. What have you tried that works? Do you have any natural remedies that help?

Please share below in the comment section so we can all learn from each other.


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10 Signs You’re Having A Migraine

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Did you know one in four households includes someone who has migraines? Do you or someone you love suffer from migraines? Or maybe you’ve had a terrible headache, but were unsure whether it was a migraine or just a killer headache?

I’d like to help you answer some of these questions by sharing my experience with migraines and possible signs you’re having a migraine.

What is a Migraine?

Although the migraine condition is not fully understood, we know that it is a “complex condition” which usually includes an extremely painful headache, along with other possible symptoms.

A genetic mutation is associated with migraines. This is why they often run in families.

Environmental conditions also seem to contribute to migraines.

Researchers believe that during a migraine the levels of serotonin fall. Serotonin is a chemical in the brain that regulates pain.

My First Migraine

I was first diagnosed with migraines at the tender age of 21.

It was a busy time in my life because I was studying to become an Elementary Education teacher. I had also recently married the love of my life (sappy, I know), David . We were busy settling into our little blue house with our little black dachshund named Cocoa, who we bought from the Humane Society.

The Aura

One day when I was busy Student Teaching a big class of active 1st graders, I suddenly started seeing flashing lights and had blind spots in my field of vision. We were doing an activity in which the children were writing letters and words in shaving cream on their desks. I remember the scent of the cream was overwhelming and painful to my senses.

After 30 minutes or so I could see more clearly, but my head hurt like it had never hurt before.

It felt like something was clamping down around my head and squeezing so hard I couldn’t focus.

And the fluorescent lights were unbearable! I found myself squinting, trying to block out the light.

Then I started feeling nauseous and told my cooperating teacher I didn’t feel well and went to the restroom. I threw up and tried returning to class despite having no relief in symptoms.

Grateful For Kind People

Thankfully, I had such an amazing cooperative teacher. Her friend next door (who I later found out suffered from recurring migraines) coaxed me to rest, took me to a vacant room and pulled the shades down so it was dark.

I so appreciated their care and concern over me that day.

It was a scary experience because I’d never felt that way before.

Later, they encouraged me to see a doctor. The doctor said it sounded like I was having migraines. He prescribed a migraine medication in case I had another one.

He also asked me to keep a migraine diary to record all the days I was having migraines, the symptoms I was feeling and share what I was doing or eating beforehand.

Triggers

All of this helped me and the doctor figure out what my triggers (things that set off a migraine) were, and to this day, most of them are the same:

  •  fluorescent lights (not good for someone going into the teaching profession, as most schools at that time had this type of lights)
  • heavy or unnatural smells
  • skipping meals 
  • stress or being overly busy
  • change in sleep patterns or lack of sleep
  • hormones

Migraines Can Be Unpredictable At Times

From reading about my first migraine, you most likely picked up on some of the unusual symptoms I was having.

I want to share more about how to know if you are having a migraine or not. Please keep in mind that symptoms are different for everyone, but typically affect the sensory system.

Also, just because you experience a certain symptom with one migraine episode, doesn’t mean you’ll always have that same symptom. Generally speaking, my migraine symptoms are similar each time. But, I’ve experienced other symptoms, such as tingling in my face or limbs, just a few times.

I hope it will help you or someone you love find answers. I urge you to schedule an appointment with your doctor if you’re experiencing some of these signs.

10 Signs You’re Having a Migraine

  1. Sensitivity to smell – About half of migraine sufferers experience this. Smells are so intense for these people that they are often overwhelming and cause nausea.
  2. Numbness or tingling of the limbs – During a migraine, the sensory system is on overdrive. The tingling or numb feeling is often on one side of the body and can spread from an arm or leg to the face (1).
  3. Aura – This happens when one experiences blind spots or sees flashing lights. For me, this is usually the first sign that I’m getting a migraine. It usually lasts about 30 minutes and that gives me enough time to down a cup of coffee, close the shades (or put on dark sunglasses), apply peppermint essential oil to my forehead and take my migraine medication. If I wait past this point to take my medicine, the migraine symptoms are usually much more intense.
  4. Feeling like the room is spinning – If you’ve ever experienced vertigo, then you know what this feels like. You feel off-balance and out of kilter. You want to lay down, but even if you do the feeling might not stop (2).
  5. Nausea and/or vomiting – This is a very common symptom of migraine, but could also be caused by something else, like a stomach bug. Like the other symptoms, this might occur with every migraine or not at all for you. I’ve experienced this symptom with 100% of my migraines.
  6. Movement makes the pain worse – Routine activities such as walking or standing up can intensity the pain.
  7. Difficulty speaking – This is one of those unusual symptoms which is often frightening because it’s also associated with strokes.
  8. Yawning – Yes, it’s weird but true. Yawning more often than usual is sometimes a clue that you you’re getting a migraine.
  9. Throbbing pain on one or both sides of the head – Many migraine sufferers experience the pain on the same side of their head every time they get a migraine, while for others it varies.
  10. Sensitivity to light – Many people want to get in a dark, quiet room because even a small amount of light tells your optic nerve to turn on the pain receptors. This is such a strong reaction that in a 2010 study, even people who were blind experienced increased pain due to light (3).

The Takeaway

While this list is not all-inclusive, I’ve highlighted some of the most common signs of migraine, as opposed to simple headache. I hope you found this useful and would love to hear from you about your migraine experiences.

You may want to read 10 Effective Treatments For Migraines to learn more about how you can prevent them.

CoQ10 Reduces Migraine Frequency

A recent study published in Neurology found that taking supplemental CoQ10 reduced the frequency of migraines 27%. CoQ10 has many other benefits, such as preventing cancer.


Have you ever experienced any of the above symptoms? If you have migraines, what are your common signs? 

Leave your comments below in the comment section.


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