I recently went to another headache and pain clinic. This was the fifth one. This doctor claims my migraines are caused by my smoking. I have had Migraines since I was 9 and didn't smoke then. I've never heard this before. What do you think? Geraldine.
First, the distinction between cause and triggers needs to be clarified. Migraine is a genetic neurological disease CAUSED by genetics and overactive neurons in the brain. Migraine TRIGGERS are physical things that bring on or “trigger” individual Migraine attacks. That said, smoking is a Migraine trigger for some people. The fact that your Migraines started occurring before you started smoking doesn’t mean that it can’t be a trigger for you now. Migraineurs often develop new triggers. To point out the obvious here – not smoking would let you determine if it’s a trigger for you now or not.
A word about clinics – It’s better to select a particular Migraine specialist than to choose a clinic because it’s really the knowledge, skills, and philosophies of a particular doctor that can make a difference in your treatment.
Bottom line: You need to work to identify your triggers. Once you’ve accomplished that, you can determine if any of them are avoidable. Smoking may well be a trigger for you now. The only way you’re going to be able to tell is to stop smoking and see if your Migraines are reduced.
John Claude Krusz and Teri Robert
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Published On: May 28, 2007