The Most Common Migraine Triggers

Being aware of what things may trigger a migraine is half the battle and dealing with migraine headaches.  Since stress is the number one trigger of migraines for many, massage therapy is a great way to help manage migraines. The following lists also states that physical exercise could possibly trigger a migraine.  However, for some individuals exercise actually helps relieve migraine symptoms.  I guess the most important thing is to listen to your own body and to to keep your own list of possible triggers.


Interesting fact: Migraines are three times more common in women than men.


These are some of the most common triggers of migraines with STRESS being the #1 trigger.

  • Stress

  • Anxiety

  • Bright light or reflective sunlight

  • Smoking including secondhand smoke

  • Change in sleeping habits

  • Menstrual cycle or hormonal changes

  • Changes in weather or climate

  • Changes in altitude or time zones

  • Fasting or skipping meals

  • Excessive caffeine consumption

  • Caffeine withdrawal

Here are some other possible migraine triggers to be aware of:

  • Depression, anxiety, or other strong emotions

  • Physical exercise

  • Orgasms

  • Red wine or port wine

  • Artificial sweeteners

  • MSG (in many packaged food products)

  • Nitrates/nitrites (i.e., hot dogs, deli meats, bacon) 

  • Tyramine (an amino acid found in aged cheese, yeast, and pickled or marinated foods)

  • Chocolate

  • Citrus fruits

  • Birth control or hormone therapy

  • Overuse of pain medication

  • Odors from perfume, pain, dust, and flowers

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