Common Triggers of Migraine Headaches

There are a wide variety of both headaches and migraine headaches. There are also some very common triggers of migraine headaches. These common triggers are what may have started you on your descent into a migraine headache in the first place.

You may be able to work out what type of a headache your about to experience if you can find out what your particular migraine triggers are. If you know your triggers, you can then work to adjust your diet or lifestyle, or whatever you have pinpointed the cause to be. This will help you with your “migraine management” in the future. Understanding what your triggers are and what type of a migraine headache you are experiencing, will help you find some solutions to avoid, minimize or recover far more easily from your migraine.

A great idea that can help you may be to keep a “migraine diary”. You can do this by jotting down about your migraine, how it started, how long it lasted, what you were experiencing, doing or consuming leading up to the onset. This will definitely help you find your personal triggers. Migraine headaches can be caused by many different health and lifestyle aspects and finding your triggers and what effects you is very important.

Once you know your Triggers then you can work and record the treatments that worked for you helping you to recover quickly, or the ones that helped you avoid a headache turning into a full-fledged migraine.

Here is a list of a few different types of headaches and migraine headaches. I am sure that by the names of them you can guess what the triggers are.

  • intolerancetriggered by an intolerance in the environment (eg. dust, smoke, cleaning agents)
  • stress – triggered by stresses and everyday pressures within your life
  • tension – triggered by strained and tight muscles around the head, neck and shoulder areas (injuries)
  • caffeine – triggered by too much caffeine (although there are some natural medications for migraines that do include a small amount of caffeine)
  • food – triggered by an intolerance to some foods such as dairy, high sugar foods, high-fat foods, chocolate or alcohol (in particular red wine)
  • dehydration – triggered by lack of fluids and body salts fro exercise or not hydrating
  • sinus – triggered by mucus blockages and buildup of pressure in the facial cavities
  • hormone – triggered by changes in hormones (eg. puberty, female menstrual cycle)

Common Causes of Migraine Headaches

Foods Choices

Common Triggers of Migraine HeadachesFood can be the easiest migraines cause to pinpoint and it is also the easiest trigger for you to make a “choice” to avoid.

I am a person who has a red wine migraine trigger. It starts with a sinus feeling while drinking and then it moves to a pain in behind my eyes and then a pounding at the side of my headache. I know that this is a trigger for me especially when I add other factors into the mix like lack of good sleep and a busy stressful day into the mix.

But the great thing about this is that I have personal choice and I know I can avoid drinking red wine if I have a red wine migraine trigger or not eat dairy products like soft cheese and my sinus migraine will not happen tonight. If I have already started down the path of a migraine by drinking that wine not sticking to the right choice for me, then I can look within the abundance of natural remedies out there that I know have worked for me before, without having to resort to strong medications.



Too much caffeine also can be a cause of migraines. If you are a regular coffee drinker and you decide not to drink coffee than you can get a migraine headache by not giving your body something it has got very used to.

Funnily enough, caffeine can be the cause or it can also be a cure for pain relief of a migraine. There are medical reasons for this but if you’ve already had a few cups of coffee today and you added one more to the mix you may have overdone it and bought that migraine about. If you haven’t had any caffeine and you feel a migraine approaching then it may be able to aid you in your recovery.


scooter-pollution-environment-migrianeEnvironmental migraine causes are fairly easy to pinpoint too, as they are often something we can see or feel around us and within our daily environment. If the air quality is poor (this can be checked on some government websites of apps) or bushfires have caused a smoky air environment we can easily acknowledge that this head pain is more than likely caused by an environmental migraine.

There are many environmental factors that can cause our health some distress. Some environmental factors around us like noise and pollution are just a couple of causes that are often a cause of a migraine headache. With lots of us living in big cities now, this can be hard to avoid. But there are precautions and things we can do to help us deal with these environmental factors and lessen the onset of a migraine occurring.

US PM2.5 Standards and Air Quality Index

Standards and Air Quality Index

Some cities in the world, you may have seen people wearing face masks to stop them breathing in or to help minimize breathing in the pollution in the air. There are some fantastic apps that you can get that will give you the real-time air quality readings. Most of these are free. If the air quality index readings are high in your city, and you are walking to work every day or work outside, it may be helpful to look into getting one of these apps. It can also be useful to keep on hand and to use a face mask for air pollution. If the air quality rises to unhealthy, very unhealthy or hazardous, and you don’t want to breathe this unhealthy air in you will have something available to help you.

If noise is a factor for your migraines, whether it be your household, your job or your living environment, then you would benefit by finding some time out of your day to relax and perhaps even listen to a quiet relaxation meditation. A small amount of peaceful time in the day can do wonders for us all, not just for migraine sufferers but for helping reduce the busy stressful lifestyles we have become accustomed to living.

Intolerances can also a factor of the environment. You may get headaches from particular odours. The odour might be something nice like Perfumes, or really chemical based like paint, cleaning products or cigarette smoke. Whatever the smell may be, your body and particularly your head just doesn’t like it and it causes you to get a mild headache. That headache can escalate easily into a full-blown migraine.

These can also be preservatives, chemicals and additives that are contained in foods you have eaten. So finding out and knowing where your weaknesses are within your daily diet can also have a huge bearing on your migraine management.



Please follow and like us:
  1. Hi! Great article on migraine headache triggers. I sometimes have a mild migraine headache (usually on top and back of my head). I didn’t really try to find the trigger because I didn’t know how. But now after reading your article, I know what to look for. I
    Keeping a diary sounds like a good idea. It may help me to compare the episodes and find the real trigger. Thanks for sharing!
    By the way, what is the difference between a headache and a migraine headache? How do I know if a headache I am experiencing is a migraine headache?


    • HI Kai, Thank you for your comment. A migraine is a condition that has usually has a headache with it. The Migraine headaches have throbbing pain that often tends to be on one side of your head. With a migraine headache, you can get pain in and around your eyes, face, jaw, or neck, usually accompanied by other symptoms like nausea and vision disturbances. Most people who suffer Migraines will know to treat a headache as though it is a Migraine. Do things to try and relieve the head pain before it becomes a Migraine. I hope this helps you differentiate the two conditions. If your having trouble with head pain have a look into my article on Herbal remedies and acupressure these may help and if it continues to cause you grief make sure you see your healthcare professional. Wishing you the best of health and some headache relief. Mary

Leave a Reply to Mary Cancel Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>