Surprising Migraine Triggers (and How to Avoid Them)


As a lifelong migraine sufferer, I find it frustrating how little research is being done on headaches. Very little funding is earmarked for migraine research and there are only a few headache specialists for sufferers to visit. Perhaps that’s because the majority of migraine sufferers never seek any sort of medical treatment for their headaches. They suffer in silence and wait for the pain to go away. 

If you’re coping with migraines then you know that the best approach is to prevent them from ever getting started. You’ve probably heard that some food additives or chemicals can bring on migraine symptoms, but these triggers may be much more common than you ever knew. Here are some surprising triggers that may be causing your migraines.

  • Poor sleeping habits. Getting too little or too much sleep could be causing your headaches. If you’re prone to migraines, it’s best to keep your sleeping patterns as consistent as possible. Stick to your schedule even on the weekends if you want to avoid getting a headache.
  • Tyramine and tannins. Foods like red wine, processed meats aged cheeses and even apple juice may contain tyramine or tannins that can cause a migraine attack. Other food additives like aspartame, nitrates and MSG may be causing your headache symptoms.
  • Lights, smells or other stimuli. Bright sunlight, flickering computer screen or your coworker’s cologne could all be putting you at risk for an attack. Even loud noises may be enough to trigger a headache. Try to wear sunglasses and avoid the perfume counter if you’re extra sensitive.
  • Not getting the right amount of caffeine. Caffeine is funny; it can cause migraines in those who overindulge sporadically, yet it can also trigger headaches in those who are accustomed to caffeine that skip their morning cup. Try to keep the caffeine under 200 mg for best results.
  • Alcohol can trigger migraines along with hangovers. If you’re susceptible to headaches, try to refrain from drinking. If you must imbibe, at least try to avoid darker liquors which may make your headache symptoms worse.
  • Skipping meals. If there’s anything that migraine sufferers have in common it’s the need for their bodies to be on a regular schedule. Just as diabetics should never skip meals, neither should migraine sufferers. You may also want to keep a snack nearby to prevent blood sugar crashes.

If you’re suffering from migraines, consider visiting your chiropractor for an adjustment. Many patients report an immediate reduction in migraine symptoms after leaving their chiropractor’s office. Your chiropractic team can also help you understand the importance of lifestyle changes for managing your attacks.

Always consult your chiropractor or primary care physician for all your health related advice.


Story credit, Photo credit: Migraine by mickebear. Used under a Creative Commons license.

This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Corp (or its franchisees and affiliates). You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.