What Are My Migraine Triggers - Really?

Nancy Harris Bonk Health Guide
  • I'm frequently asked, "Do you know what triggers your Migraines?" Maybe the question should be, "What doesn't trigger my Migraines?" Seriously, between the "typical" triggers I encounter and the various health issues I have, how do I know and then narrow down the things that may or may not be the Migraine trigger of the day? I can say with confidence I'm not always sure what my Migraine trigger is.


    I had a lovely appointment with one of my doctors in a group I've been seeing for several years. His office has supported me in every twist and turn I've taken trying to ease my chronic pain. Calling my situation "desperate," this doctor was the first one who diagnosed me with fibromyalgia. And he is even assisting me in posting the Western New York Migraine and Headache Disorder Support Group flyers in his office starting in April (yes, that's a plug!)

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    My check up preoceded as it usually does, and we also we went over the last infusion treatment. I explained it took several days to feel less "hung over" than I recall in the past, and I wasn't thrilled that I wasn't totally pain free. When asked what I thought may have triggered this particular cycle, we sort of looked at each other and said, "What didn't trigger it?" We chuckled and went over the trigger possibilities - not the triggers we know about - poor sleep, dehydration, skipping meals etc. - but the other health conditions I have that impact my Migraine attacks and chronic pain.


    So what are these "conditions?" Let's start from the top, and believe me; it does not give me pleasure to address them. If I ignore them, they'll go away, right SealedAt any rate, there is Post-Traumatic Headache (with concussion syndrome?) Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension (IIH); the anterior cervical disc fusion with titanium plate and screws; fibromyalgia; some mixed connective tissue/Lupus autoimmune issue; Raynaud's Syndrome, Sjögren's syndrome and others, but why bother talking about them all? I think you get the point. I know I did. Any ONE of these may trigger a Migraine for some people without complicated health issues. How can all these conditions plus the other triggers I mentioned above, not play a key role in my Migraine management?


    I'm not complaining, or even venting, I guess I'm just sorting it all out. Maybe having a "plate" as full as mine, being totally pain free is not a realistic option. Is it possible to narrow down my avoidable Migraine trigger list when my head plays an important role in each condition? I certainly try to keep a regular sleep schedule, stay hydrated, not eat or chop fresh onions to avoid a Migraine attack. But it's not like I can avoid the metal in my neck, or my toes turning white or the sand paper feeling in my eyes.


    What I try to do is relax my neck when I get tense and put the TENS unit on it per my doctors orders. Use eye drops to help ease my dry eyes and now have my first pair of battery operated socks (although I think they are going back!). Trying to be diligent with these things is an ongoing task. Life with chronic illness takes work - but living life is the only option. We do have to make the best of it.    


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    Thanks for reading and feel well,


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    © HealthCentralNetwork, 2011.
    Last updated March 29, 2011.

Published On: March 30, 2011