I started having migraines two years ago. It seems that every time I have a high stress event (i.e. infant baptism, house guests, etc.) after the event is over I get a major migraine. Is there something I can do to prepare or ward off the migraine? During the event I do not feel stressed. Gretchen.
These are called "letdown Migraines," and there are a few theories about them. One is that stress produces endorphins and higher neurotransmitter levels, and that when they drop after the stress, it results in a Migraine.
Another theory is that there are things you do or don't do during the stressful period that result in a Migraine once the stressful period is over. I've known people to test this theory, find those triggers, manage those triggers, and have fewer letdown Migraines because the triggers they found were avoidable once they knew what to watch for. Let me give you a list of potential triggers to be on the look-out for:
- dehydration -- sometimes, consuming even a little less fluid than usual can be a trigger
- altered sleep schedule -- staying up later, getting up earlier, disrupted sleep
- altered meal schedule -- skipping meals, longer times between meals, etc.
- loud, noisy rooms
- crowded, stuffy rooms
- people wearing more perfume than you're usually around
- happy or sad occasions that make you cry
There are other things that could impact you as an individual, but that's a good start. The main thing is to pay attention to your body and to your surroundings. If the first theory is right, there's not much you can do to prevent these Migraines. If the second theory is right, discovering what triggers you during stressful times could help you eliminate many of these Migraines.
If you get a chance, let us know how it goes? We'd love to know!
John Claude Krusz and Teri Robert
About Ask the Clinician:
Dr. Krusz is a recognized expert in the fields of headache and Migraine treatment and pain treatment. Each week, he and Lead Expert Teri Robert, team up to answer your questions about headaches and Migraines. You can read more about Dr. Krusz or more about Teri Robert.
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Published On: August 16, 2009