AABP Integrative Pain Care

9 Most Common Migraine Triggers and How to Manage Them

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More than 39 million Americans live with frequent migraine pain but aren’t sure what’s causing them. Learn more about common migraine triggers, so you can lower your risk for migraine attacks.

Migraines are a painful, throbbing headache that can make getting out of bed difficult for a couple of days. This type of headache can be triggered by many things in your environment or lifestyle but, with the right treatment, can be managed.

At AABP Integrative Pain Care, our specialists throughout New York State treat a wide range of common pain problems, including persistent headaches and migraines.

Understanding what triggers your migraines can go a long way to prevent them. We work with you to pinpoint the underlying cause of your migraines and customize a treatment plan to your needs.

Here are nine common migraine triggers you should know about and some insight on how to manage them:


Stress may be responsible for migraines in 70% of people. Head pain can also contribute to increased stress, creating a cycle that’s hard to break.

You can lower your stress levels by learning relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises and meditations. You should also make a point to reduce stress at home and work to protect your overall health.

2. Hormone changes

Women are more likely to develop migraines triggered by hormone changes than men. Migraines are common during pregnancy and monthly menstrual cycles because of the fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone.

Stabilizing your hormone levels through diet and exercise can lower your risk for painful migraines. You might also benefit from taking hormonal birth control pills to better manage hormone fluctuations.

3. Diet

There are many foods known to play a role in migraines. You can work with our physicians to determine what foods to avoid. Common trigger foods include chocolate, dairy products, artificial sweeteners, cured meats, alcohol, and caffeine.

Once you understand the foods triggering your migraines, you should avoid them as much as you can. Focus on getting fresh, healthy foods in your daily diet.

4. Dehydration

Not drinking enough water can lead to a painful migraine. Dehydration can also cause a variety of other health complications and symptoms like confusion and dizziness.

Always carry a water bottle with you and aim to drink at least two liters a day to keep your body hydrated.

5. Low quality sleep

If you aren’t getting enough sleep at night, you may be at a higher risk for migraine attacks.

To improve your sleep quality, start following a sleep schedule where you go to bed and wake up at the same time every night. It’s also important that you unplug from your electronics at least one hour before you go to bed to give your brain time to relax.

6. Strong smells

Strong perfumes or chemicals can trigger migraine pain or make it worse. You may also be sensitive to particular smells, which can also contribute to migraines.

Do your best to avoid being around strong smells. Don’t hesitate to let friends and co-workers know how certain scents affect your health.

7. Light

Some people are sensitive to natural and artificial light, which can trigger or aggravate migraine pain.

Remember to carry sunglasses with you wherever you go and wear them when light feels too bright, even if you’re inside.

8. Overuse of medications

Certain medications that people take frequently, including those that you take for migraine pain, can cause a migraine attack or medication overuse headache (MOH).

Our pain management specialists can help you stop taking medications safely to disrupt the cycle of pain. We can also recommend how to move forward with a treatment plan using medications that don’t contribute to your pain.

9. Weather changes

Extreme heat, storms, humidity, and other weather issues can cause migraine attacks.

While there’s nothing you can do to change the weather, it can help if you stay inside during weather events. In hot weather, make sure to drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration, which can also contribute to migraine pain.

If you need help managing your migraine headaches, call the AABP Integrative Pain Care office near you today or book a consultation online.