It’s the chicken and the egg syndrome all over again; does eating chocolate cause a migraine attack, or do migraines make you crave caffeine? While having any chronic illness can lead to depression, is there any truth to the notion that feeling despair exacerbates pain, including excruciating migraine headaches? According to some scientists, we may never understand the exact cause of persistent migraines.
Migraine trigger avoidance- don’t try this at home
Scientists have identified hundreds of migraine triggers that may increase your chances of having a migraine attack. Naturally, health experts have jumped on the boat in advising migraine patients to avoid all migraine triggers, from food preservatives such as MSG and alcoholic beverages such as wine and beer, to strong scents and even exercise.
But according to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center researcher Timothy T. Houle, Ph.D, most people with migraines who eliminate foods such as dairy products, gluten, and ripe fruits from their diets are doing so unnecessarily, as only individual scientific examination can truly determine if your migraine attacks are being caused by stress, hormonal fluctuations, or a penchant for aged cheese.
11 Headache Triggers you Never Thought Of
“Correctly identifying triggers allows patients to avoid or manage them in an attempt to prevent future headaches,” he says. “However, daily fluctuations of variables – such as weather, diet, hormone levels, sleep, physical activity and stress – appear to be enough to prevent the perfect conditions necessary for determining triggers.”
Only science will tell
“The goal of this research is to better understand what conditions must be true for an individual headache sufferer to conclude that something causes their headaches.”
Because the migraine trigger modality is often inconsistent, patients may suffer from migraine anxiety, the fear of leaving the house lest a migraine occur, or end up following a wild goose chase that either doesn’t work, or results in even worse migraine attacks caused by medication misuse.
For the Wake Forest study, scientists examined nine women who suffered from migraines with aura and migraine without aura.
Participants recorded stress levels in a daily diary and also submitted to urine tests for hormone levels.
Scientists also took into account weather conditions, a common migraine trigger, dating back three years.
Researchers noted that due to their inability to simulate “migraine triggers” consistently and accurately for each patient in a manner that satisfies scientific standards, they were not successful in proving that any one factor increases one’s risk of experiencing a migraine attack.
All the more so, they concluded, it’s impossible for a patient of migraines to reliably determine her migraine triggers by trial and error alone, without the benefit of scientific applications.
Do you agree with the idea that migraine triggers are almost possible to track?
Besides prescription medication, what other strategies do you use to prevent migraines?
Do you have any questions or suggestions? Please leave your comments below.
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Like this? Read more:
Are Migraines Always Hereditary?
What Causes Migraines? The Long and Short Answers
Is Migraine Disorder a Real Illness?
Causes of migraines nearly impossible to determine
Migraine Triggers Tricky to Pinpoint
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