Migraine headaches are a common complaint that we treat in my San Diego Chiropractic Clinic. Migraine triggers are chemical, environmental or other factors that are known to trigger migraine headaches. Researchers and medical professionals have developed many different theories regarding migraine triggers.
Many chiropractors believe that in some instances migraines are caused by misaligned vertebra that pinch certain nerves in the upper cervical portion of the spine. I see patients’ migraine headaches respond favorably to chiropractic care in my clinic on a regular basis. That being said, misalignments of the upper cervical vertebra don’t explain all cases of migraine headaches because all of my patients don’t get better.
There are Many Migraine Triggers
The following is a short list of common migraine triggers.
Vascular pressure changes in your brain; from initial blood vessel constriction and a drop in blood flow, followed by dilation and stretching of blood vessels, which activates pain-signaling neurons. These dilations and constrictions can include blood flow increases of up to 300% which causes the migraine.
Changes in your serotonin levels; when levels drop, blood vessels including those in your brain become swollen and inflamed, which can lead to migraine pain.
Neurological disorders; related to nerve cell activity that crosses your brain, causing pain. In this case, it is thought that the release of neurotransmitters across the cortex of your brain can directly stimulate the trigeminal nerves found in your brain stem, setting off a chain reaction that ends in the pain signals of a migraine.
A nervous system disorder involving your brain stem. Your brain stem is your control center for alertness, perception of light, noise and smell, cerebral blood flow, cardiovascular function and pain sensitivity — many, if not most, of which are part of the symptoms of a migraine attack.
Typically a person who experiences migraines often can identify a “trigger” that they can point to as the culprit of their headaches. If you have migraines and have not attempted to identify your migraine triggers you should. The following is list of some common migraine triggers.
Allergies: Including food allergies / sensitivities and chemical sensitivities.
Dehydration and / or hunger
Changes in sleeping patterns: Both missing sleep and oversleeping can trigger a migraine.
Stress: Emotional stress or trauma can trigger a migraine.
Physical exertion: Intense exercise has been known to bring on migraines.
Hormones: Some women experience migraines before, or during their periods, during pregnancy, or during menopause.
Other migraine triggers include: bright lights, fluorescent lights, loud noises and strong smells (even pleasant ones) can trigger a migraine. Weather changes, seasonal changes, and changes in altitude can also act as a trigger for a migraine.
All of the above migraine triggers are significant and some are downright scary.
New research studies point to a few potential cures of migraines that just may work for you. A recent study found that vitamin supplementation of vitamin B6, B12 and folic acid has the potential to reduce the frequency and severity of migraines.
Recent studies have also found that 42% of those suffering from migraine headaches are also suffering from a vitamin D deficiency.