3. Know Your Triggers
Because people who experience migraine have hypersensitive brains, they are susceptible to changes in their internal and external environments, including shifts in hormone levels, stress or sudden release from stress, over/undersleeping and weather changes—all of which are known migraine triggers.
Although there are certain triggers commonly reported by patients with migraine, no single trigger will cause migraine in all patients, Rothrock notes. Even for a given individual, a proven trigger doesn’t necessarily cause an attack of migraine every time it’s encountered.
“Events that occur in a person’s life may have an enormous influence on how much or little that person’s genetic predisposition to migraine is expressed clinically,” says Rothrock. “We recently published a paper on the topic of migraine triggers, and from the studies that generated that paper we found that no matter what the race, ethnicity, culture, or country involved, the most common trigger of an acute migraine attack is stress. It seems logical to assume that for chronic migraine the same is true: Stress promotes and reinforces the tendency for episodic migraine to turn chronic.” Rothrock suggests that the converse is likely to be true as well: Stress reduction may make a significant contribution towards improving one’s migraine.