10 Migraine Triggers That Start Your Headache

Migraine trigger

Sometimes no matter what you do…

Your migraine is going to start.

The biggest problem you face is no one really knows the cause of migraines.

While this makes life a lot tougher if you suffer from migraines there are certain things which can bring on that terrible pain in your head a lot quicker.

Migraine Triggers Can Lead to Migraines

Triggers refer to food/drinks you have, changes in your body or you surrounding environment which can cause your migraine to start.

When you suffer from migraines, your body has a certain threshold which keeps your migraine under control.

When that threshold is reached, that’s usually when your migraine symptoms starts.

Migraine triggers bring you past that threshold at a faster rate.


Food & Drinks

Food and drinks are the most common triggers that can lead to migraines. Certain foods and drinks that you have, contain additives which are known to aggravate the symptoms of your migraine.

These include:

  • Fermented Cheese (Blue, Cheddar, Brie)
  • Citrus Fruits (Oranges, lemon, lime)
  • Chocolate
  • Alcohol (beer, wine, cider) – Alcohol also leads to dehydration which is another migraine trigger
  • Deli Meats (Ham, Salami, Pepperoni, Sausages)
  • Fried Foods
  • Caffeine (Energy drinks, coffee, tea)



Consider when your migraines start. Are you usually stressed when they begin?

Stress has been shown to increase the onset of migraines especially due to situations at work which may involve increases in pressure such as meeting deadlines or excessive workload.

People who suffer from migraines are also known to be more anxious and worry which lead to chemical changes in your brain that can start migraines.

Lack of Sleep

When your sleeping patterns change it can lead to increased stress on the body which can trigger migraines.

Decreased sleep as well as excessive sleep can bring on your migraines.

If you suffer from lack of sleep it can also lead to anxiety and depression which can again cause chemical changes in the brain that produce migraines.



There is minimal evidence showing that migraines are linked to changes in weather.

Some people report that being in the sun for too long, or rapid changes from hot to cold or cold to hot weather can bring on their migraines.


Excessive Exercise

Intense exercise can put large amounts of strain on your body which may induce your migraines.

Especially if you don’t participate in regular exercise and suddenly start on an exercise program it can lead to overexertion which trigger your migraine symptoms.



Strong scents have also been known to be a trigger for migraines.

Specifically perfume has been reported to bring on migraines. Smoke from cigarettes and strong smelling food can also trigger your symptoms.


Bright Lights

Bright fluorescent lights which you will often have to deal with when at work or in shopping centres have been known to start migraines.

The bright lights lead to changes in the fixation of the pupils in your eyes and can cause headaches.


Eye strain

Bright lights and eye strain are directly related.

It is most common if you spend your day staring at a computer screen as part of your job. This is also linked to fixation of your pupils and can lead to a migraine.

The glare of your computer screen can trigger migraines so you should watch the brightness levels on your computer and phone screen to see if they bring on your headaches.


Hormone Changes

Since migraines are much more common in women changes in your hormones can play a part in the symptoms you experience.

If you feel your migraines coming on a few days before or during your period, they may be a trigger for you.

A change in your estrogen levels is what is thought to be the trigger.



Certain medications you take have chemicals which can affect the brain and lead to headaches and migraines.

The oral contraceptive pill also has hormones in it that can be a trigger.


Stop The Triggers, Stop The Pain

Not quite!

Staying away from these triggers can reduce the chances of getting a migraine…But not stop it.

Keeping your migraine triggers under control can reduce the chances of you reaching your migraine threshold.

In some cases though, no matter what you do, your migraine will still start. Usually multiple triggers at once can contribute to you headache.

Keeping track of what specific events cause your migraines can play a big role in staying away from your threshold and limiting your migraines!

If you think migraine treatment can reduce your migraines call us today or book online to see how we can help.