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Triggers

Confused about triggers…

  • By Jenna

    I’m pretty sure my initial trigger was stress over school since my first attack emerged during a very stressful week but now that the process has begun it seems like every little thing is triggering migraines once they are stopped by the meds the ER doc prescribed. I’m up to two attacks a day even with these meds (compazine/toradol/benadryl) and I’m well aware I need preventive meds but I can’t get in to my neuro doc for a week and a half. Are these considered actual triggers or am I just caught in the loop of the initial migraine? I’m still very new to this. Sorry if this is incoherent I’m in the midst if an attack as I write this.

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  • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

    Hi whovian,

    Welcome to the Migraine.Com discussion forum. You weren’t incoherent- I understood most of your post!

    Triggers are tricky – what triggers one person may not trigger another, and we may not get a migraine if we are exposed to only one trigger. But, if we are exposed to more than one trigger, let’s say stress, becoming dehydrated and skipping meals we may have an attack. This article discusses stackable triggers; https://migraine.com/blog/migraines-have-triggers/.

    The list of migraine triggers is long and what triggers one person may not trigger another. Some of us have food triggers, while others do not. The best way to figure out what our triggers are is to keep a detailed migraine diary; you can find more information in this article by Kerrie Smyres; https://migraine.com/blog/keeping-migraine-diary-basics/. AND keeping one is is easier than ever with all the apps out there. Migraine.com has one called the Migraine Meter which you can find here; https://migraine.com/migraine-meter/.

    We also have more information on triggers in this article that may be helpful; https://migraine.com/blog/migraine-management-essential-trigger-management/.

    I’d also like to mention something called medication overuse headache or moh which was formerly called rebound. The thing is if we take migraine medication and/or certain pain relievers, whether they are over-the-counter or prescription, more than two to three days a week we can create an endless cycle of pain and our migraines will be more difficult to treat – this is medication overuse headache. Let me share information on this with you; https://migraine.com/blog/help-how-can-i-not-overuse-migraine-medications/.

    As much as I wish I could tell you whether you are in a migraine cycle or something else, only your doctor can do that. I’m glad you will be seeing your doctor soon as getting an accurate diagnosis is important.

    Keep us posted on how you are feeling?

    Nancy

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  • By Jenna

    Thank you so much for your reply. I am also concerned about medication overuse however until I am prescribed some sort of preventive meds I am deciding to choose the lesser of two evils because not taking the meds means being unable to function and I have three exams between now and my appointment next week. I will definitely bring it up to my Neuro doctor though so he knows it’s a factor. I tried not taking the meds one day to see if it would get better on its own and I almost ended up back in the ER because the pain got so intense. I even had numbness on one side that time which was really scary. Luckily I only have a little over a week to go. I consider myself lucky to get in relatively quickly. Thank you again for your thoughtful reply. I will update later.

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  • By Lisa Robin Benson Moderator

    Hi Whovian,

    You seem very thoughtful about the meds you are taking, and I am sure that keeping the communication open with your doctor will be of great help to you with your continued treatment.

    Just a personal note–I had a very similar start to my chronic migraine cycle being triggered by stress of school. I felt that initial trigger caused me to become more sensitive to other triggers, so I would get migraines more often. Once that cycle was broken a bit and I felt good preventive treatment, I started to return to my baseline of only a few a month. I don’t know if something similar is going on with you, but just wanted you to know there is hope, and you’re on the right track. Good luck and keep us updated!

    Lisa

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