Migraine Triggers


There are various factors which might trigger a migraine. Each person is different and you should try to identify which factors might apply to you and try to avoid them. Many people find that they are able to tolerate one of the triggers on its own but a combination of more than one trigger can push them over their threshold and cause an attack.

Emotional triggers include

  • stress
  • anxiety
  • anger
  • excitement
  • shock.

Physical triggers include

  • tiredness
  • loss of sleep
  • irregular sleep
  • strenuous exercise
  • tension in the neck or shoulders
  • eye strain (for example, after looking at a computer screen)
  • dental problems (for example, teeth grinding).

Dietary triggers include

  • lack of food (dieting)
  • irregular meals
  • dehydration
  • alcohol
  • caffeine
  • certain foods such as chocolate, cheese and citrus fruits
  • certain food additives such as monosodium glutamate (MSG), aspartame (a sweetener), Tyramine and nitrates.

There is now more evidence to suggest that food cravings can be a warning sign that a migraine attack is approaching.


Environmental triggers include

  • bright lights
  • loud noise
  • strong smells
  • smoky environments.
  • Other triggers

Other triggers include smoking and some sleeping tablets.

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