Migraine triggers

Many factors have been identified as migraine triggers. Some people have even spotted several factors as triggers for their migraines.

Emotional triggers
  • stress
  • stress relief
  • anxiety
  • shock
  • depression
  • excitement

Physical triggers
  • physical exertion
  • hormonal changes (menstrual period)
  • sleep (excess or lack)
  • poor posture
  • neck or shoulder tension
  • teeth grinding

Dietary triggers
  • lack of food
  • dehydration
  • alcohol
  • the food additive tyramine
  • caffeine (excess or withdrawal)
  • specific foods or products: red wine, blue or aged cheese, chocolate, beer, bananas, citrus juice, smoked meat.

Environmental triggers
  • air exposure (hot or cold)
  • bright lights
  • tobacco smoke
  • loud sounds
  • changes in climate
  • strong smells
  • altitude

  • some types of sleeping tablets
  • the contraceptive pill
  • hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which is sometimes used to treat the menopause

Migraine causes

Although the exact cause of migraines hasn't been established yet, there are several theories explaining the potential mechanisms behind migraines:

  • Depolarization
  • Vascular
  • Neural