Causes Of Headache

Relation Between Migraines and Stress

When it comes to choosing the all-time champion of migraine triggers, it all boils down to two contenders and all the others are mere pretenders. Much research has been done into the various triggers of migraine and basically the verdicts have come down squarely into two camps. Many researchers have decided that food and food additives are the main culprit behind triggering migraines. On the other hand, many researchers are adamant that the primary trigger for migraines is stress.

The wisdom concerning eliminating the stress in our lives is hardly relegated to migraine relief. Stress seems to be blamed for just about every ailment experienced in the modern world. The simple, inescapable fact of life is that stress is now and is probably always going to be a daily part of our lives that can never be eliminated. Even the mere reduction of stress levels is difficult. The management of all aspects of life from family to career to raising children to school all offer some kind of stress.

The Most Common Stresses That Trigger Migraines.

Multiple-Role Stress: Females especially must contend with multiple-role stress, the juggling of many responsibilities such as wife, worker and mother.

Workplace Stress: There is no such thing as a stressless job. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the CEO of a multinational conglomerate or the checkout person at the supermarket, you will be stressed out by your job.

Financial Stress: Not being able to meet bills, not making as much as you want, not making as much as your neighbor; these are all stresses connected with finances. The number one cause of divorce is money issues so it should come as no surprise that worry over finances can trigger migraines.

Caregiver Stress: Women are likely to suffer this stress the most, though more and more men are choosing to become stay at home dads. There are untold riches in being a parent, but it can also be quite taxing and stressful.

All of these stressors individually trigger migraines, but most often it’s the combination of all of them working together that cause that explosion inside your head.

The Impact of Mood on Headaches

Personality: A migraine is a disease, not a psychological disorder, and contrary to popular belief the majority of headache patients do not suffer any serious psychological problems. Research from hundreds of studies that have examined the personalities and behaviors of migraine sufferers have delivered no evidence whatever that concludes there is any particular personality type prone to suffering migraines.

Depression: Depression can reduce the body’s ability to respond effectively to medication. If your migraine medicine isn’t doing the trick, it may be because you suffer from depression. Women in particular are at risk for depression, though the effect is the same on both genders. Depression also occurs more often in migraine patients than in those who don’t suffer migraines. Even mild depression can diminish the efficacy of both medical treatment and behavioral treatments such as biofeedback and relaxation methods. Because of the possibility that treatment for migraines could be diminished, therefore, it is highly recommended that you discuss this issue with your doctor who may be better able to select treatments that can effectively relieve symptoms of both headache and depression.

Anxiety: Anxiety is basically a state of nervousness or tension that occurs without any particular reason. Much like depression anxiety can work to lower one’s ability to handle stress. Anxiety can also raise the level of pain or lower your tolerance for pain during a headache, which can seriously impair the effectiveness of any medication used to treat headache pain. For some sufferers, it is necessary to treat both the anxiety and the headaches in order to get both under control.


If depression or anxiety are present in a patient with migraine, both disorders need to be treated. It is generally not true that treating the depression will make the headaches go away, or that headache improvement will lead to an improvement in mood. Specific treatment for both migraine and depression exists and will produce the best outcome.