Top 10 Migraine Triggers and How to Deal with Them

8. Light

For many migraine patients, natural light is the enemy. This condition is called Photophobia, and it is actually one of the criteria used to diagnose migraine. Both natural, bright light and fluorescent or flickering bulbs are problematic, making it difficult to spend time outside or be in an office environment.

How to cope: Wearing sunglasses is helpful when you’re outside, and it’s a good idea to carry a pair with you at all times. When faced with artificial light, sit closer to windows and avoid flickering lights or sources of glare. Green light is the only band of light that has been shown to not aggravate migraine –finding bulbs that emit green light or sunglasses that deflect all but green light could be helpful.

9. Smell

Some odors may activate certain nerve receptors in the nasal passages that may trigger a migraine attack or make worse one that already started. Osmophobia (aversion to odors) is a common symptom of migraine.

How to cope: Avoid perfumes, strong food smells, chemicals or gasoline. If you work in an office environment, make your condition known among your coworkers, and don’t be afraid to ask that they refrain from wearing perfume or cologne.

10. Medication Overuse

Ironically, if you have regular migraine headaches and take acute medication prescribed by your doctor more than 10 days out of a month, it can in itself cause more migraine attacks—a phenomenon known asMedication Overuse Headache (MOH).

How to cope: If you have MOH, you must first stop taking the medication and clear it out of your system before you can stop the cycle of pain. You should work with your doctor to learn how to come off certain medications, such as opioids or butalbital containing medications, safely. If you need help finding a doctor, use the American Migraine Foundation’s doctor database.

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