How do I Identify a Migraine Headache Trigger?

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  • Written By: C. Daw
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 12 May 2019
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Being able to identify a migraine trigger is a process that requires trial and error, and begins with isolating three different aspects within daily living. Diet, lifestyle and environmental surroundings are the leading causes of migraines, and in order to isolate specific migraine triggers, a journal for each area should be kept. Every person will have different triggers, so there is never a general answer when it comes to finding a migraine headache trigger. The only way to find the trigger, or triggers, is to become more aware of the circumstances involved that could cause the medical condition.

Diet is the first area that needs to be evaluated when trying to identify a migraine headache trigger. One common problem is mild or serious dehydration. Even though the exterior of the body may seem to be hydrated properly, the interior may not be. Drink numerous glasses of water throughout the day to decide if this is a trigger. Various different types of food and spices can also trigger a migraine. Every time that a migraine presents itself document what had been ingested within the last few hours.


Lifestyle is another common migraine headache trigger. Other medical conditions can cause migraines, as can various activities or jobs. The journal that is kept for this area of life also needs to be kept up to the minute. When a migraine occurs, write down everything that was done or was being done. Be very specific when it comes to this area because even though different tasks may be completed, there may be one variable that is present during all of them.

The final area that should be analyzed when trying to identify a migraine headache trigger is the environment. Many times this is the area that is hardest to isolate, and will be the most difficult to change in order to relieve the migraines. Pay close attention to animals and plants that may be around when the headache hits, as well as any weather or odors that may occur. A trigger could be as simple as an allergy attack, or it could be an aspect, such as pollution, that cannot be controlled.

Finding a migraine headache trigger will differ from person to person. An event journal needs to be diligently kept to determine the many different variables that are encountered and dealt with. Once the journals isolate specific areas or events, then actions can be taken to slowly go through them and find the exact triggers that cause the migraine. Once the triggers are found, steps can be taken to alleviate, or even eliminate, the migraine headaches.



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