6 Reasons You May Get Recurrent Migraines

Dec 12, 2023
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Stopping the pain is a top priority if you're having a migraine; understanding what may trigger these debilitating headaches can help prevent another. Our team explains what can cause migraines and how to track your triggers.

About 39 million people in the United States face the challenge of migraines, which can vary in length, severity, and frequency. If you’ve ever had a migraine, you know they can make life difficult, whether you expect an attack every six months, once a month, or weekly.

Our headache team at Valley Neurology, led by neurologist and headache specialist Dr. Wade Steeves, can help. Dr. Steeves focuses on diagnosing and treating headaches of all types and excels at providing solutions for acute and chronic migraines.

While not a cure, understanding the possible causes of your migraines can assist Dr. Steeves in developing an effective treatment plan. Check this list from our Valley Neurology team regarding six common migraine triggers and ways to avoid them.

1. Certain foods and beverages

Various foods and beverages are known to trigger migraines. The list is extensive, but common culprits include chocolate, excessive caffeine, wines, aged cheeses, and artificial sweeteners.

Keeping a food diary to track your diet alongside migraine occurrences can help identify potential triggers. Once identified, avoiding or limiting these foods or beverages can help reduce the frequency of migraines.

Notably, skipping meals or waiting too long between meals can trigger migraines. Depending on your headache pattern, a small snack between lunch and supper or 2-3 hours before bedtime may help.

2. Hormonal fluctuations

Changes in hormones can contribute to migraines. For many women, migraines often are linked to the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, or the use of hormonal contraceptives. 

Understanding your hormonal patterns and preventive measures, such as hormone therapy or lifestyle adjustments, may help manage hormone-associated migraines.

3. Stress and anxiety

Stress is a common trigger for migraines. Incorporating stress-reduction techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, regular physical activity, and sufficient sleep into your routine can help manage migraines.

4. Environmental factors

Sensitivities to certain environmental factors, such as strong odors, bright lights, or weather changes, can trigger migraines in susceptible individuals. Identifying your specific environmental triggers and minimizing exposure can help prevent recurrent migraines.

That may include using sunglasses in bright light, wearing ear protection in noisy environments, or monitoring weather forecasts for potential triggers.

5. Sleep irregularities

Inconsistent sleep patterns, including insufficient and excessive sleep, can contribute to migraines. 

Establishing a regular sleep routine, ensuring adequate sleep each night (7-9 hours for adults), and creating a comfortable sleep environment are essential for migraine management.

Avoiding caffeine and electronic devices before bedtime can also promote better sleep quality.

6. Genetics

Genetics can play a role in the development of migraines. If you have a family history of migraines, you may be predisposed to experiencing them. 

While you can’t change your genetic makeup, understanding your family history can help Dr. Steeves develop an effective migraine management plan tailored to your needs.

Get started on effective migraine management today by scheduling a headache evaluation with Dr. Steeves at Valley Neurology. Call our Spokane Valley, Washington, office or request an appointment online.