The holidays are over, and I should be primed and ready to write, but my New Year has started out being plagued by Migraines. The main issue is that one of my strongest triggers is _ changes in weather_, a trigger that I know of no way to avoid without moving to a place where the climate is more stable, and there are fewer weather changes. At this point, I feel like a human barometer.
Warning: Venting ahead!
I detest this weather change trigger! It’s annoying, frustrating, infuriating to work so hard to manage my migraines only to be brought to my knees by a trigger that’s unavoidable and totally out of my control. It’s not fair! I’d trade this trigger for another, say food triggers, in a heartbeat. At least I could control those.
OK. Venting over.
Well, since there’s nothing I can do about changes in the weather being my most detested trigger or about the weather changes themselves, I need to put on my big girl panties and figure out what I do. What do we know about migraine triggers that can be helpful here? The three most useful things we know are:
- Many triggers don’t bring on a migraine every time we encounter them.
- Triggers can be cumulative or “stackable.” That means that one trigger might not bring on a migraine, but if we stack another trigger or two on top of that first one, those stackable triggers result in a migraine.
- When preventive treatments are working well, we often see a decrease in all of our migraines, and we can have times when we don’t get a migraine when exposed to even our strongest triggers.
So, now that I’m through venting and complaining about the migraines I’ve been having that were triggered by that unavoidable trigger of changes in the weather, it’s time for me to be proactive. It’s time to do all I can to ensure that my body is in the best condition to resist even unavoidable triggers. Here’s what I’m going to do:
- Work diligently to avoid the triggers I have that ARE avoidable so there’s nothing for the trigger of changes in weather to stack upon. For me, that means:
- avoiding dehydration,
- not skipping meals,
- going to bed and getting up at the same time every day,
- being sure to take the medication for my sleep disorder so my sleep is good and restful,
- Being sure to not miss any doses of my preventive medications.
The most important point here is that we can sometimes win out over even “unavoidable” triggers. It’s okay to get frustrated now and then and scream, “It’s not fair,” because it’s not. But what choice do we have? After we vent about the unfairness of it all, it’s up to us to take control.
Trigger identification and management is a part of migraine management that is all too often overlooked. It still stuns me when a migraineur tells me that their doctor has never even mentioned triggers. That’s idiotic, especially when there are many triggers that we can avoid IF we know about them. Keeping a good migraine diary is helpful in identifying triggers. To identify food triggers, an elimination diet is the way to go. If you want more information on identifying food triggers, check out Managing Migraine - Migraine Food Triggers. At the end of that article, you’ll find a link to download a free workbook to help identify food triggers.
Writing this has been good for me. I shared my frustration with you, which helped, and writing about what I need to do will be good motivation for me. PLEASE feel free to post a comment if you need to vent for a minute, or if you want to say something about this post.
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Teri Robert is a leading patient educator and advocate and the author of Living Well with Migraine Disease and Headaches. A co-founder of the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy and the American Headache and Migraine Association, she received the National Headache Foundation’s Patient Partners Award and a Distinguished Service Award from the American Headache Society. Teri can be found on her website, and blog, Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+.