Migraine Games: The “Hot & Cold” of Triggers

By Lisa-Marie

Step 1) Place arrow onto the bow, 
Step 2) Lift bow and arrow up to jaw level, 
Step 3) Slowly pull back the arrow and aim, 
Step 4) Carefully release the arrow, and…

DARN IT! Target missed again!


Even though you may have followed all the steps correctly, hitting the target seems like a gamble of luck sometimes. Living life with migraines is essentially the same.

There’s no telling what each day can bring. You may have felt that you avoided all your triggers, yet here you are lying in bed, once again, with an ice pack on your head. Why? Because chronic migraines are a game of their own.

All migraineurs know it’s a must to deeply research possible triggers in order to avoid any unnecessary migraines. But even though we may know our triggers, we have to learn that triggers are far more complicated. They require strategy.

Below are just a few of the most common triggers that can be a major gambling game. “Hot” triggers represent those that may go overboard. “Cold” triggers are those that occur when we don’t get enough of a certain trigger.



1. Sleep

Too hot: Slept 10 hours
Too cold: Slept 5 hours

Just as too much sleep can be a trigger, too little sleep can be the same. It’s important to find a happy balance and form healthy sleep habits for a good night’s rest.


2. Diet

Too hot: Eating the wrong foods
Too cold: Skipping a meal

We have to make sure that everything we put into our bodies is good for us and that our bodies are always properly nourished. Try to keep a diary of the foods you eat and note which ones may trigger migraines. (Learn more about migraine and diet here and here.)


3. Weather

Too hot: The sun is too bright or hot
Too cold: It’s raining all day

This one is more difficult to control. Changes in atmospheric pressure, temperature, and more can be powerful migraine triggers. (Learn more about weather-related migraines here.)


4. Exercise

Too hot: Hardcore workouts every day
Too little: Not working out at all

Extremely vigorous workouts can build up pressure in the head, which can lead to triggering a migraine attack. On the other hand, too little exercise can stop the body from releasing hormones that help in migraine prevention.


5. Stress

Too hot: Too much stress
Too cold: Well, let’s be real — too little stress isn’t a trigger.

An overabundance of stress is a huge trigger for many of us. You can learn to manage stress with meditation, yoga, deep breathing, or any other hobby that gives you peace of mind.

As you can tell, it’s easy to get lost in the game and veer off too much to one side of the hot or cold spectrum. Even migraineurs who have been developing their strategy for years easily fall victim.

It’s important to realize that while much can be done to prevent migraines, much is still out of our control. Even the smallest aspects of our lives come into play as, every day, we step into the challenging game of migraines and fight to remain on the winning side.

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