There are many facts and fables about what can or cannot trigger a migraine. For a long time, it was thought that chocolate and cheese always triggered a migraine attack. Later it turned out that there is no connection between these foods and migraine, but that you can have a greater appetite for a certain food before a migraine attack. The same applies to bright light. Because you may be sensitive to bright light at the beginning of the migraine attack, it may be thought that bright light triggers migraines. Yet some people report that bright light can trigger migraines in them. Sometimes it is not entirely clear whether something triggers migraines or whether it is something you are sensitive to before a migraine attack starts. It is important to map out for yourself what can or cannot trigger a migraine, because this can be different for everyone. The following factors have been scientifically proven to trigger migraines:
– Overuse of caffeine
– Withdrawal of caffeine
– Skipping meals or not eating sufficiently
– Products containing aspartame as in sugar-free products such as soft drinks (light), breakfast cereals, gelatins, chewing gum, sweets or artificial sweetener
– Products rich in nitrates such as endive, turnip greens, beetroot, red celery, Chinese cabbage, kohlrabi, pak choi, purslane
– Products containing glutamates such as in Fast food and Chinese food
– Tobacco or Snus
– Bright or flashing light
– Weather changes
– Stressful periods
– Disturbing sleep pattern
– Obesity or overweight
– Changes in estrogen levels during for example the period, birth control, pregnancy, or menopause
– Not exercising regularly
– Feelings such as anger, fear or depression
What is helpful and what does not help prevent migraines?
There are also misconceptions about what is helpful and what does not help prevent migraines. We explain here what has been proven by science to help prevent migraines. An irregular lifestyle can cause migraines. It is therefore advised to have a regular lifestyle. Get up at the same time every day and go to bed at the same time, also at the weekend. Moreover, a healthy weight and regular exercise also have a positive effect on the number of migraine attacks. It is sometimes claimed that acupuncture helps to prevent migraines, but there is insufficient scientific evidence for this.
A possible new therapy to prevent migraine is green LED light. Research has shown that daily one to two-hour exposure to green LED light is a way to reduce the number of migraine attacks per month and alleviate the headache. In a group of migraine patients, the number of days with headache was compared between daily exposure to white LED light and the period following daily exposure to green LED light. In the period with daily exposure to the green LED light, fewer days of migraine per month were reported. Also, the headache was less severe, and the attack lasted less long. The treatment with green LED light is currently still in the research phase. This means more research must be done before this treatment can be applied. It may be interesting to keep an eye on when this therapy comes on the market.
Your own influence on migraine prevention
This website is intended to give you possible tips to alleviate or prevent your migraines. Please realize that you do not always have 100% influence on the occurrence and course of migraines. If the tips are not sufficient, please contact your doctor.