What is a migraine? Why migraine happens. Who gets migraines? Treating migraines.

Migraine Causes


There doesn't seem to be any one single cause for migraine headaches. Ask a variety of migraine sufferers and you'll get a variety of answers. Although migraines are defined as vascular headaches, there are several classes of migraine headache, brought on by a variety of triggers and displaying very distinct symptoms, severities, and durations. In addition, many migraine sufferers have a family history of migraine, suggesting that the illness may be, at least for some, inherited.

Doctors can't agree on the cause of migraines either. Some argue that it's a chemical or electrical malfunction in the brain. Others blame heredity and nothing else.

What Trigger's A Migraine?

Regardless of the cause of migraine headaches there are certain triggers which are consistent to all migraine attacks. These triggers will, of course, vary from individual to individual. This makes the task of defining a single cause for migraine headaches almost impossible.

Pinpointing headache triggers is more important than the class or the cause for migraine headaches themselves. Through defining triggers, the migraine sufferer is able to better control them and in some instances, eliminate them, thus effectively preventing migraine attacks happening.

Triggers for migraines can be grouped into several divisions.

Lack of sleep, over exertion, prolonged hunger, toothache, hormonal change and sinus pain

Shock, depression, anxiety, stress and excitement

Smells, noises, bright lights, strobe lights, sun glare and weather induced

Chocolate, cocoa products, caffeine, Msg, alcohol, tanins, artificial sweeteners and dairy products

So as you can see there is no one single definitive trigger for migraine headaches either. Any migraine sufferer could have a mild, moderate or severe attack triggered by any of the above. That being said most migraine sufferers find that there are some triggers more likely to cause an attack than others.

Personally speaking mine are laser lights, lack of sleep, prolonged stress and too much caffeine. Over the years I've become used to watching the early warning signs of an attack based on my triggers and I can then take some preventive action to either stop or lessen the overall effect of the migraine itself. Get to know your triggers folks.