Migraine Headache

Keep a Check on Your Migraine Triggers!

A migraine trigger is a factor which is responsible for the initiation of a migraine attack. The nervous system of the migraine patient is more sensitive as compared to others. The triggers can lead to frequent migraine attack under certain circumstances. Triggers can be divided into several categories like:
* Behavioral
* Environmental
* Infectious
* Dietary
* Chemical
* Hormonal

Migraines are not caused by triggers but the processes that cause migraine are activated by them. Different triggers cause migraine attacks in different people. Even in one person, a particular trigger will not cause migraine every time.

Identifying and avoiding the triggers like environmental factors, food, or specific habits is the best way to avoid migraine attacks. Knowing one's triggers can help in reducing the severity and frequency of migraine attacks to a large extent.

Common migraine triggers-
* Food:
 Certain food items such as dried fish, beer, red wine, chocolate, processed meat, fermented cheese among others tend to induce migraines.

* Weather or Air Pressure changes:
Changes in air pressure, exposure to extreme heat or cold, humidity or rapid changes in temperature tend to bring migraines.

* Smells, Fumes or Odors:
Certain migraine sufferers are sensitive to smell from products like perfumes, cigarettes and other such items.

* Sudden loud noises:
Loud noises are often responsible for aggravating migraine attacks.

* Eating Habits:
Skipping meals, fasting and irregular eating habits induce migraine attacks in certain people.

* Bright Light:
Some migraine sufferers are affected by strong and glaring lights (like in case of bright sunlight, fluorescent lights, flickering lights and computer screen).

* Stress:
Emotional stress decreases the body's natural defenses and makes it more prone to migraine attacks.

* Excessive physical exertion:
Intense physical activity and exercising can trigger migraine in certain people. Physical activities such as sex and bowel movement can also bring on migraine.

* Hormonal fluctuations:
In women, hormonal fluctuations like in case of menstrual cycles can trigger migraine attacks. Migraines are also prevalent in case one is undergoing treatment with artificial hormones like estrogen replacement or birth control pills.

* Sleeping habits:
Migraine sufferers who do not get adequate amount or sleep and rest suffer more from migraine attacks. Proper sleeping habits help in reducing the intensity and frequency of migraines.

* Motion Travel:
In people suffering from motion sickness, traveling can induce migraines.

Self Care for triggers-
Sometimes there is no apparent reason of the onset of migraine. The migraine sufferers are advised by the doctors to identify their personal migraine triggers. This can be done by recognizing the association between the various suspected triggers and their headaches. For this purpose, patients are asked to maintain a “headache diary” in which they can note down the correlation between the various triggers and their headache. This is helpful in avoiding the triggers that cause migraines.

Treatment-
Treatment for triggers focuses on:
* Trigger avoidance
Avoiding the use of certain triggers like alcohol and caffeine among others is helpful in avoiding triggers.

* Control of symptoms:
Most sufferers develop their own ways of coping with the pain of migraine attacks. Activities like a cold or hot shower, a hot cup of tea or coffee, resting in a dark room and likewise are helpful in controlling headaches.

* Preventive drugs:
Drugs such as Ibuprofen, Aspirins and other analgesics are useful for tension headaches. Recurrent migraine attacks may be treated with Triptan. Narcotic pain killers like morphine provide relief but are rarely used due to their side-effects.