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My Most Random Migraine Trigger

I was seven when I had my first migraine attack. I'm now 44 years old. So, I've lived with migraine most of my life. I've spent a good number of those years standing guard to identify possible migraine triggers.

Over the years, I discovered triggers such as food, aromas, stress, and muscular tension. I never considered the list finite, but I certainly didn't suspect my couch for the list. But it turns out, it was in fact contributing to migraine attacks for me. I know it sounds like a crazy accusation, so let me explain.

Do I often sit on my couch?

The irony of all of this is that I’m not a couch potato. I’ve actually struggled over the years being content to just sit on the couch. If I’m not sick, I feel compelled to be “doing” something. It’s not the healthiest mindset, so I’ve intentionally tried to shift it within the last couple years. I’m trying to be more intentional with taking time to rest at the end of each day, and even in the middle of the day for a short break.

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How did I first notice the tension?

We have a sectional couch and I love the corner seat. I feel so nestled in and cozy. I’ll grab my blanket and either my journal or the TV remote and settle in. That’s my routine. Well, I’m sitting there one night and realizing that my arm is tense and actively pushing into the one cushion. Once I was aware of it, I shifted positions and relaxed my arm. By the next commercial break, I my arm was tense and once again pushing into the cushion.

Is it related to my migraine attacks?

What is happening? Why am I subconsciously pushing into this cushion? The more that I paid attention to it, the more I thought back to my last appointment with a bodyworker that I was seeing. She noticed some tension in my arm and asked if I knew what it was from. It wasn’t an area that I typically had tension. I couldn’t think of anything at the time, so I didn’t give it much thought. But it was the same side that I was getting migraine attacks recently.

Did repositioning the cushions help?

I also realized that the couch cushions had been rearranged recently so they weren’t in the normal position. The one that I kept pressing into, felt like it was pressing into me, so I guess my arm was just resisting it. It was subtle at first, but once I realized what I was doing, I couldn’t unsee it. I also couldn’t unsee the possibility that this could be an underlying contributor to my recent bout of attacks. So, I repositioned the cushions. That naturally broke my tendency to create tension in my arm, it was back to its relaxed state, as was my head.

Why have I shared this story?

So, why am I sharing this seemingly random story with you? I’m sharing this with you because I want to remind us all – myself included – that even after living with migraine for decades, it’s still important to stay on guard of possible triggers to attacks. We may discover something new. Or we may discover something that has been here all along, we’ve just happened to overlook it. And of course, we’re not looking to blame ourselves or even our habits. We’re looking so we can uncover possible culprits and ultimately get to a place where we can experience more pain free or at least low pain days.

I’m curious, have you found random, seemingly off-the-wall, triggers to your migraine attacks? Share in the comments below. I would love to hear your story too!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Migraine.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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