Stress. Insomnia. Anxiety. Exercise. Did you know that our behaviors can trigger migraines? Learning to manage them is critical to migraine prevention. Seems like nowadays most people learn to deal with these common bumps in the road. But for a migraine sufferer with these common triggers, the consequences are dramatic.
When a patient comes to me with migraines, the first thing we focus on is eliminating the pain. This typically involves some sort of medication. However, equally important is migraine prevention. As I’ve outlined in previous articles on migraine triggers “Can Diet Trigger Migraines” and “Environmental Migraine Triggers” diet, environment and certain behaviors are very common migraine triggers.
Understanding what, if any, role your lifestyle plays in triggering your migraines is critical. Of course, it’s not that simple. Most headache experts believe that migraine sufferers have a nervous system that is highly sensitive to change. To the degree that it’s possible, identifying your individual triggers can go a long way in managing the frequency of your migraines.
BEHAVIORS CAN TRIGGER MIGRAINES
Some of the more common migraine triggers cited by patients are behavioral. Here are some behaviors that can trigger migraines:
- Sleep disturbances
Fortunately, many of these behaviors can be self-managed. For example, if a certain exercise seems to bring on a migraine, eliminate it. If stress, diet or sleep issues seem to be the culprit, find ways to improve or change them. Working through issues that are causing stress or sleep disturbances with a professional counselor might help. Furthermore, some patients have found non-drug therapies like acupuncture to help reduce stress and improve sleep.
MIGRAINE TRIGGERS CAN BE AS UNIQUE AS YOUR FINGERPRINT
As you try to identify your unique triggers, keep in mind that varying degrees or types of a behavior may just be the trigger. Take exercise for example. Weight lifting might trigger a migraine for a specific patient, while jogging may be beneficial. In another patient, swimming sprints might be a trigger, while walking could be a useful prophylaxis.
It is also important to note that not every headache is linked to a trigger. If you think there are specific triggers to your headaches, I suggest you keep a headache diary that will help you identify triggers specific to your headaches. By identifying your unique triggers, you will better be able to prevent their onset.
Since 1981, First Health Associates has been providing exceptional health care to residents of Arlington Heights, Mt. Prospect, Schaumburg, Buffalo Grove, Rolling Meadows, Palatine, Elk Grove and Des Plaines. First Health is an integrative medicine practice that offers: Medical Care; Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine; Counseling and Behavioral Therapy; and Chiropractic Care.
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