Migraines are a complicated condition. In fact, there are so many types of migraines that it’s hard to keep them straight, and even those that supposedly fall into the same category may actually be very different in their origins and symptoms. So it’s no wonder that many of the things that help some people can hurt others. That’s why it’s important to be aware of your personal headache triggers and treatments, and to keep trying different types of treatments to find the one that works for you.
Caffeine is a godsend for many migraine sufferers. It helps control migraine pain and helps migraine medications take effect faster. But for other people, caffeine can be a major problem. Not only can you have the problem of caffeine dependency, which leads to withdrawal problems that can cause headaches, but caffeine use increases your risk of getting rebound headaches.
And many caffeine-containing foods, like coffee and chocolate, are also migraine triggers for some people.
There’s good evidence that some smells can help cure your migraine. Green apple and peppermint scents are among the most commonly touted to help eliminate migraines. But smells are also one of the most common migraine triggers. Perfume, paint, and other chemical smells are commonly blamed, but some food scents, such as onions, are also blamed for being migraine triggers.
For many people, exercise is a migraine trigger. The body’s sudden demand for oxygen and the change in heart action can dramatically impact the pressure and flow of blood in the brain, which can trigger a migraine.
On the other hand, regular light exercise has been noted as a way to reduce migraines, and it can even help control a migraine that’s starting. It’s important to enter your exercise slowly, have good energy reserves, and stay hydrated.
Headaches have traditionally been an excuse to avoid sex, but in some cases sex has been shown to actually help migraines. Perhaps a third of migraine sufferers saw their migraines reduce as a result of sexual activity, which puts sex in line with some of the mainline migraine treatments.
Unfortunately, the increase in blood flow, dilation of blood vessels, and potential pressure on the neck and head, can all trigger or worsen a migraine during sex.
Medications can be a great way to control your migraines. About half of migraine suffers see a significant reduction in migraines from medications, with a much smaller fraction seeing a complete elimination of migraines. But other people experience painful migraines as a result of their use of medications. Basically any type of migraine medication can trigger these “medication overuse” headaches, and usually the only solution is to go “cold turkey” and endure a period of intense, frequent migraines.
Need Another Migraine Treatment?
If you’re not happy with the results of your current migraine treatment, we can help. TMJ can trigger migraines, and TMJ treatment can provide dramatic migraine reduction without side effects seen with medication.