Identify Migraine Triggers

Published 01/17/13


Learning how to identify what triggers your migraines is crucial in managing your migraines because some of those triggers may be avoidable. Avoiding the triggers could lead to fewer migraines.


Hi. I'm Terry Robert, a migraine educator and advocate, and today I'd like to talk to you about how to identify your migraine triggers. Migraine trigger identification and management is crucial in managing your migraines, because some of those triggers may be avoidable, and if so that could help you have fewer migraines. One of the most important things you can do in trying to identify your triggers is to keep a good, accurate migraine diary. We all need to learn to focus and pay attention to what our body is telling us, and keep in mind that a migraine may happen up to 48 after we encounter that migraine trigger. So let's learn to be aware of our bodies, and let's learn to be aware of what's going on around our bodies so we can identify those things that might be triggering these migraines. Many people want to know if there are foods that are triggering their migraines. The best way to find that out for you is to do an elimination diet. Various foods can be triggers, but nothing is a trigger for everyone. With an elimination diet, you take a list of known potential food triggers, and you start by eliminating all of them. You leave them all eliminated for approximately a week. Then you add them back in one at a time, and you keep a log of all of these. So if you add them back in one at a time, one per week, then you can pretty well eliminate if that food has not caused a migraine during that week, then it probably is not a trigger for you. You continue this process until you've added back in all the potential food triggers. Then you know. Don't be disappointed if you do an elimination diet, and find that you don't have any food triggers. That's a good things. Sometimes it seems that there is too much emphasis placed on food as a trigger. There are plenty of us for whom no foods are migraine triggers. Something else that's important when you talk about migraine triggers is to talk about stress. Don't just assume that stress itself is a trigger. There's still some controversy about that, and we're not sure. So the best thing you can do to determine if stress itself is a trigger for you is to, once again, go back to your migraine diary. Pay extra attention to things you do or don't do during periods of stress. These things can be not getting enough water, becoming dehydrated, drinking too much caffeine, not sleeping well, crying. Any number of things you may do or not do during a stressful time could be migraine triggers. So whether it's stress itself or things you do or don't do during stressful times, it doesn't really matter as long as you can identify what those triggers are. Again, if some of them are avoidable, by identifying them, you can reduce your migraine burden a great deal. That's how I see it as a migraine educator and advocate. But I would also suggest that you see your doctor for more details, or go to Google and type in "migraine triggers" for more information. Thank you for watching.

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