Our Most Surprising Migraine Triggers

Question marks, thought bubbles, and magnifying glasses float in space.

Can we talk about migraine triggers?

Some stay with us. Some come and go. Others morph over time. Some triggers are common among those living with migraines. And others are just downright...surprising.

We asked our Migraine.com community what triggers surprised them the most. Here’s what they had to say.

Question marks, thought bubbles, and magnifying glasses float in space.
Life. Life is a trigger to me. - Migraine.com Community Member
poll graphic

Community Poll

Have you tried eliminating foods to reduce migraine attacks?

Question marks, thought bubbles, and magnifying glasses float in space.

Food for thought

Oh, cheese, how we love thee. And chocolate. And red wine. Why is it that the foods we love sometimes send us spinning into a migraine attack?

But that’s just the beginning. Our community noted a bunch of lesser-known food triggers. Like oranges, strawberries, dates, and tomatoes. Even ice cream. (We know, we’re crying too.)

Food triggers are complicated. And they can be hard to identify. Some foods can seem like triggers when, in reality, they’re simply causing a craving to kick in.

So how do you tell a food trigger from a craving? Understanding food chemicals and how they interact with each other is a good first step. Some in our community have had success pinpointing triggers through an elimination diet.

Question marks, thought bubbles, and magnifying glasses float in space.
Half onion rocking in a pool of slices

“Onions get me now. I used to eat them every day. Then I figured out they were a trigger. Sad because I love them.”

– Migraine.com Community Member


poll graphic

Community Poll

Which are you most sensitive to?

Question marks, thought bubbles, and magnifying glasses float in space.

Sensory sensitivities

Bring on the sun! That is, unless it’s a migraine trigger.

Bright lights. Loud noises. Heavy scents. Thick smoke. It’s a sensitive issue...literally. When lights, sounds, or smells trigger a migraine, it's no wonder why we start to fear them.

How to deal? With a little preparation, there are ways to minimize the effects of these sensory triggers. For example, portable home air purifiers can help with the smell of cigarette smoke. And removing fluorescent lights or wearing rose-tinted glasses may help dim light sensitivity.

Question marks, thought bubbles, and magnifying glasses float in space.
Car fearfully looking back at expanding sun

“One of my triggers? The sun moving in between buildings or trees while I’m in a car.”

– Migraine.com Community Member


Question marks, thought bubbles, and magnifying glasses float in space.

Weathering the weather

Some of us can tell when it will rain. Or snow. Or when the barometric pressure drops. How? Because our migraine tells us so.

For those living with migraine, a sudden change in weather is all it takes to bring on the pain. Heat. Humidity. Fluctuations in air pressure. They can all be culprits. Will relocating help? It depends. A new home can mean new weather patterns. And, for some, that can translate to new migraine triggers.

While we can’t control the weather, there are things we can do to help us cope, like using cooling gels, headache hats, or neck fans.

Question marks, thought bubbles, and magnifying glasses float in space.
Spaceship flying through clouds with moving jet fire

“Changes in air pressure affect me. I can forecast snow and thunderstorms, even if the sky is blue.”

– Migraine.com Community Member


Question marks, thought bubbles, and magnifying glasses float in space.

Beyond the triggers

Everyone living with migraine has a trigger...or two...or three. But by becoming aware of what sets off our migraine, we can begin to manage our day-to-day and take back control.

Question marks, thought bubbles, and magnifying glasses float in space.
poll graphic

Community Poll

Have you considered relocating to try to improve your migraine?