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  1. #1
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    What are your triggers for migraine?

    I'm looking for some help in managing or coping with migraines based on your experience.

    Background: I had my first ocular migraine in my 50s. This started as a strange visual aberration, in both eyes but only one visual field (i.e., either the left or the right, but only one, with the visual aberration gradually leaving the original visual field and moving into the other one). Back then, they lasted only about 10-15 minutes, with a mild headache and some sleepiness following. I had maybe 1-3 of them a year, always associated with the combination of stress and fatigue/insufficient sleep.

    More recently, in the past 4 years (really since I got sick at the beginning of 2014), the migraines have become more frequent and more severe. While they are still always preceded by a similar visual aberration, they now involved a lot more pain, both in my head and behind my eyeball or both eyeballs. They last longer now, up to a day or two. And instead of 1-3 a year, they are now occurring with a frequency of about 1-3 per week.

    I know one is supposed to try to keep a headache diary in an effort to identify and track precursors and triggers bu I will admit I'm having some difficulty doing this.

    So I'm posing two questions for our Psychlinks Forum members:

    1. What triggers have you identified for you? I know they will not necessarily be the same for me but I'm looking for ideas as to what sorts of things I need to track or pay attention to.

    2. What helps when you get a migraine? What do you take for the pain? What do you do differently when you have a migraine? What helps and what makes it worse?

  2. #2
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    Re: What are your triggers for migraine?

    David,

    Physicians who treat migraine, usually neurologists, are likely to have a supply of easy to use migraine diaries. These are often service items provided by the pharmaceutical rep who talks to the doctor about the migraine medication his Company makes.

    I used these when my neurologist had me track my triggers years ago. A diary works well when its portable, and durable....cardboard and tracks for one month at a time, listing common triggers, headache severity and duration of the attack.

    I tracked my headaches for over a year to determine a reliable record of predictors.

    My triggers are changes in weather (barometric pressure), foods containing flavor enhancers (MSG) or enhanced ingredients like powdered onion, powdered garlic, mixed seasonings (prepared spaghetti seasoning or steak seasoning), red wine, all hard liquor, missing a meal, flashing lights and stress.

    These are the triggers that readily come to mind.

    (did I mention stress?)...

    I've taken a variety of triptans as well as a nasal spray in the early years.

    I became tolerant to the nasal spray as well as tolerant to Imitrex (Sumatriptan). Imitrex is often the one doctors like to try first, as it's the original triptan on the market and is available in several forms.

    I had god success with Zomig (Zolmitriptan) in a "Rapimelt" form, a fast dissolving tablet that doesn't need water, only saliva to be swallowed, but there was a supply problem a while back with the manufacturer.

    My doctor switched to Frova (Frovatriptan) which is a longer acting triptan, effective for people whose attack subsides but then relapses the next day.

    About four years ago I cam across this article that I posted on the Forum when my doctor wanted to treat my mild hypertension. Candesartan (Atacand) can lessen the number of migraine episodes in people who need to treat hypertension and who happen to also have migraine.

    Since I started taking Atacand, I never looked back. My blood pressure is under control and migraine episodes reduced from 8 to 10 per month to on every 4-5 months even when faced with some of my usual triggers, especially changes in weather.

    I still cannot drink hard liquor nor most red wines, but I can drink some white wines and most beers (thank goodness) and the effects of the other triggers are minimal at worst.

    Did I mention I still have difficulty managing stress?

  3. #3
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    Re: What are your triggers for migraine?

    I do not get migraines that often but when i do they are massive Cause for me is always stress induced High blood pressure when they come doctor ordered me to dissolve an asprin in warm water and take it with another medication i cannot remember but it worked For me i have to try to not let stess build up to that point. Reducing noise and light always helps the migraine as well.
    Words always stay inside ones soul

  4. #4
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    Re: What are your triggers for migraine?

    View a collection of headache trackers HERE

  5. #5
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    Re: What are your triggers for migraine?

    Do you find that coffee (or tea, i.e., caffeine) helps or makes migraine better?

    How much of a factor is hydration/dehydration?

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    Re: What are your triggers for migraine?

    I find if i am dehydrated i certainly get more headaches. With caffeine not so much i think because i don't go through withdrawal of it i don't drink enough of it to have an effect on me.
    Words always stay inside ones soul

  7. #7
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    Re: What are your triggers for migraine?

    I find that if i do not have enough sleep as well can bring on a headache.
    Words always stay inside ones soul

  8. #8
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    Re: What are your triggers for migraine?

    lf l get a Migraine, l take my medication and having a strong coffee such as Expresso helps immensly in how the medication works. l did hear that strong coffee helps the meds works up to 50% better so l tried and it does work for me.
    Never be a Prisoner of your Past,
    lt was just a Life Lesson,
    Not a Life Sentence......

  9. #9
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    Re: What are your triggers for migraine?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michelle M View Post
    lf l get a Migraine, l take my medication and having a strong coffee such as Expresso helps immensly in how the medication works. l did hear that strong coffee helps the meds works up to 50% better so l tried and it does work for me.
    Michelle,

    Your experience reflects what many others have noticed; on the other hand, there are people like me whose reaction to caffeine and headache is the exact opposite...caffeine triggers migraine for me. Each of us who has migraine has to figure out our own triggers and relief strategies, which you have evidently done. Just the thought of a cup of expresso sends signals of a migraine for me, though...

    You might be interested in the attached WebMD article that explains both sides of the story on Caffeine Can Treat Migraines or Trigger Headaches

  10. #10
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    Re: What are your triggers for migraine?

    Interesting how caffeine can help one person and trigger a migraine for someone else...
    I can barely handle a normal headache I can't imagine what you guys have to go through dealing with migraines.

    I know if I don't get my caffeine fix first thing in the morning I will get a headache soon enough and feel like if I had a hangover.

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