Are Migraines Really Triggered by Stress?

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According to a recent study, long-term stress triggers migraines and other debilitating ailments, especially if you fall into a certain age group… Here are some interesting results from the 45-year study on stress and chronic pain, and some tips to help you lower your risks for frequent migraine headaches.

Are Migraines Really Triggered by Stress?

Women, stress, and headaches

There’s a lot of hype about stress being the strongest of all migraine triggers, but very little research proving the influence that stress reduction and other natural therapies can have on migraine headaches.

Now, results from a Swedish study on 1,500 middle-aged women which began in 1968 have been published, proving the undeniable link between perceived stress and ailments such as headaches, backaches, joint stiffness, and stomach pain.

Here are some of the details of that study:

•About 1,500 women participated in the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg study on migraines in middle-aged women.

•Women were asked if they suffered from anxiety, fear, nervousness, irritability, anger, or sleeplessness resulting from family or work relationships and health problems.

•In 40% of participants, long-term stress triggered chronic pain symptoms of migraine headaches, aching muscles and joints, or gastrointestinal disorders.

•Twenty percent of women suffered from constant stress during a period of at least five years.

•Stress triggered most migraines in women between the ages of 40-60, the same age range for a large number of migraine patients.

    Also read: Ease Stress, Effortlessly! 5 Migraine Management Tips

    Which pain symptoms are most predominant?

    In the study, scientists focused on three main categories of chronic pain: migraine headaches, muscle and joint pain, and gastrointestinal complaints.

    •For muscle and joint pain, 40% of middle-aged women who suffer from high stress are affected.

    •For chronic migraine headaches, 28% of participants saw a spike in migraine frequency during long-term stressful periods.

    •For gastrointestinal pains, such as stomach cramps, diarrhea, and nausea, another 28% of women saw a correlation between stress and chronic pain.

      It’s interesting to note that all three of the ailments listed are common symptoms of migraine; in addition to intense headaches, many migraine patients also suffer from stomach pain, severe nausea, uncontrollable vomiting, neck aches, eye pain, and draining fatigue.

      Read: The Earliest Symptoms of Migraine are not Headaches

      So, if you are a middle-aged woman who experiences all of these symptoms with migraine, then stress may make you nearly 100% more likely to get a migraine attack in the near future.

      Reduce migraine triggers!

      Overwhelmingly, natural preventative measures, used in conjunction with doctor-approved migraine treatments, have the most impact on migraine prevention.

      These include:

      •Migraine trigger avoidance

      •Following a migraine-friendly diet

      •Keeping a migraine diary

      •Stress reduction techniques
      •Yoga or tai chi

      •Keeping a regular sleep schedule

      •Preventing dehydration headaches by drinking enough water

      •Taking essential vitamins, minerals, and herbs that impact migraine triggers resulting from vitamin deficiencies, neurological disorders, and vascular irregularities.

        The Fab Four

        For good health with migraines, experts advise taking these basic four ingredients:

        Vitamin B2 (riboflavin), magnesium, butterbur, and coenzyme Q10

        Read more here- Top 25 Natural Migraine Treatments: Vitamins, Minerals, and Herbs

        Your turn!

        Do you have any questions or suggestions?  Please leave your comments below.

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        Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/freedigitalphotos