My One Minute Migraine Trigger Theory

My One Minute Migraine Trigger Theory

Hey all! I have a theory on migraine triggers I would like to share. I talk about how individual triggers contribute to my migraine attacks and how I can keep them at bay.


How do you describe your own triggers? Do you see them as adding up? Or do you have a different theory?

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.

Comments

View Comments (16)
  • TrishaNP
    2 years ago

    I need gradual introduction into the sunlight otherwise I get a migraine and any enjoyment I would have had is already ruined. Sleep is very important to me as well, if I do not get enough sleep I only need 1 other trigger to appear and my day is over.

  • Jani8
    2 years ago

    I know of 2 triggers that instantly cause a migraine. They are stepping out into bright sunshine even with sun glasses on and sneezing. However they usually last less than a minute unless I already have a migraine, then it will make it flare.

  • 2 years ago

    I agree – cumulative. I have often been confused about a trigger that I could ingest one day with no repercussions, then a few more times over the next week or two and then BOOM! A week of pain, nausea, throwing up, light sensitivity, inability to focus or think clearly, etc, etc, etc. It has taken me 50 years to accumulate a list of triggers (for me) and with that in hand, another year to test and form a list of safe foods to use while checking out new foods and combinations thereof.

  • Carolelaine
    2 years ago

    Lisa, I agree that many triggers are cumulative and I love your visual, very clear and easy to explain to someone who may not understand. I have several things that will instantly trigger a migraine, certain scents are the most common. Sometimes the pain only lasts as long as I am exposed to it and as soon as I get some fresh air I’m fine. Has anyone else had this happen to them?

  • Lisa Robin Benson moderator author
    2 years ago

    Hi Carolelaine,

    Yes I know what you’re talking about with scents. They are commonly instant triggers, but I personally find that if I can get away from them soon enough I can escape the migraine. I have had this experience with sunlight, too.

    So glad you liked the visual!

    -Lisa

  • Jojiieme
    2 years ago

    I couldn’t get the sound to work, no matter what I tried.
    May I ask why we don’t have transcripts? What do people with hearing impairments or other sensory difficulties do when there are videos or audios that are inaccessibles to them?

  • Lisa Robin Benson moderator author
    2 years ago

    Hi JOJ,

    To follow up, I thought I’d briefly explain what I am saying in the video:

    The water cup is my migraine brain. The ice cubes I put in represent triggers, and the more I put in the higher the water level goes, and when the cup overflows I get a migraine. One way I can deal with that is to avoid triggers. Another way is to try to keep my “water” level lower by practicing self care: getting enough sleep, exercise, seeing my chiropractor, etc.

    Hope this helps!
    Lisa

  • Joanna Bodner moderator
    2 years ago

    Hi JOJ,
    I am so sorry that you experienced issues with the sound for this video! I will be sure to share your feedback regarding transcripts!

    Always appreciate your comments & wishing you pain free night!
    -Joanna (Migraine.com Team)

  • Jan Mundo
    2 years ago

    I agree. Triggers add up, and, as the classic song goes, “little things mean a lot,” so it’s important to track down and eliminate as many as possible.

  • Lisa Robin Benson moderator author
    2 years ago

    Very true, Jan!

  • Nancy Harris Bonk moderator
    2 years ago

    This is terrific Lisa!

  • Lisa Robin Benson moderator author
    2 years ago

    Thanks Nancy!

  • Luna
    2 years ago

    Triggers tend to be cumulative. This is the case with all triggers, not just food. A food may be fine one day, but not on a day when the weather is stormy or you didn’t get enough sleep or your hormones are fluctuating. Think of it like a bucket. You can fill up a bucket without it overflowing unless you try to add more than it can hold. Different people’s buckets can hold different amounts. You can add trigger after trigger as long as your bucket doesn’t overflow, but it can be hard to know when that overflow point is.
    Kerrie Smyres—April 14, 2015

  • Lisa Robin Benson moderator author
    2 years ago

    Nice, Luna! I love that! Can you share the link?

  • Maureen
    2 years ago

    Lisa, I liked your visual, because I noticed that sometimes the triggers make the water splash even when your cup isn’t yet full! And I think that might resonate with alot of us. We are like, “Hey, uh oh, what was that!? Wait, am I fine. I think I’m fine, but, um, what if I’m not?” And also, I’ve heard it called the bucket theory before, but with a glass like you used, I can just picture that sometimes the glass just gets knocked over. BAM. Weather system. Hormones. Car accident. Unknown boogey man. I didn’t do it. I couldn’t help it. It just happened. Migraine.
    Good visual! Yep. Usually, we talk about being glass half full kind of people. Maybe the glass half empty crowd is onto something, huh?

  • Lisa Robin Benson moderator author
    2 years ago

    Hi Maureen,

    I know exactly what you mean! I felt my glass splash a few times today, but went to see my chiropractor, and I am ok.

    Yeah, let’s go for the glass half empty–at least when it comes to triggers. 🙂

    Glad you enjoyed the video and thanks for the comment!

    -Lisa

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