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Migraine Is More Than a Headache

Migraine is a disease with risk of progression characterized by its recurrent attacks of moderate to severe headache pain. According to a study in 2016, migraine was found to be the second most disabling disorder in the world, second only to low-back pain.

  • 36 million Americans live with migraine and women are 3x more likely than men to experience migraine.

    Prevalence of migraine
  • 4 or more headache days per month means the person is at risk for developing chronic migraine.

    Risk of developing chronic migraine
  • Depression and anxiety are about twice as common in people who have migraine compared to those who don't

    Link between depression, anxiety and migraine
  • 14.8 Million people in the U.S. suffer migraine symptoms severe enough to require bed rest or cause impairment of daily activities

    Migraine can result in bed rest or impairment

Understanding Migraine Triggers

Everyday actions can trigger a migraine attack. While the exact cause of migraine isn't known, doctors learn more every day. Here are some common triggers that may affect you.

  • Stress

    Stress often leads to more frequent migraine attacks and is a trigger for almost 70% of people with migraine. Finding ways to reduce stress in your everyday life can be critical to preventing the onset of a migraine.

    Common stress-relieving techniques may include:

    • Making time for yourself
    • Identifying stressful situations and develop alternatives to avoid them
    • Eating healthy
    • Incorporating daily, low impact exercise such as walking or yoga
    • Practicing relaxation and breathing techniques
  • Food and nutrition

    Nearly 27% of people living with migraine recognize certain foods as migraine triggers, but not everyone reacts to them in the same way. Maintaining a balanced diet and keeping a consistent eating schedule are helpful in preventing the onset of migraine.

    Understanding common food and beverage triggers can help you read nutrition labels and make the best choice for you.

    Common food-related migraine triggers:

    • Preservatives and additives:
      • Sodium-based preservatives such as hydrolyzed yeast extract, natural flavoring, hydrolyzed vegetable protein
      • Nitrites or preservatives found in lunch meats, hot dogs and pickled products
      • Common artificial sweeteners such as Aspartame
    • Naturally-occurring:
      • Tannins (found in the skins of beans, teas, red wine grapes, chocolate, citrus and red-skinned fruits)
      • Tyramines (found in red wines, chocolate, vinegars and aged foods like cheeses)
      • Phenylethylamine (found in chocolate, garlic, nuts, raw onions and seeds)
      • Sulfites (found in dried fruits, like prunes and apricots)
      • Alcohol (wine, beer, whiskey, champagne)
      • Caffeine (withdrawal or overuse)
  • Environmental

    Your environment can play a big role when it comes to provoking migraine attacks.

    Common environmental triggers include bright light, loud noises and strong smells.

    • If you use a computer frequently, take breaks during the day to rest your eyes and get away from the artificial light
    • Try noise-cancelling headphones to keep disruption from noises to a minimum
    • It can be difficult to control the air around you, but steering clear of places where strong odors are emitted, such as perfume counters, gas stations and smoking sections, may help
  • Weather

    According to the National Headache Foundation, almost 75% of people living with migraine said weather was a migraine trigger. In fact, people with migraine are nearly 30% more likely to have an attack when lightning strikes. Additional common weather-related triggers are extreme cold, heat and humidity, changes in barometric pressure or altitude and seasonal allergens.

    Although many weather-related triggers can't be easily avoided, you can empower yourself to be prepared:

    • Check the forecast before you go outside. Certain weather apps and sites offer personalized forecasts for migraine
    • Download the Migraine Buddy app to see a barometric pressure forecast for your area for the next 48 hours
    • If you know a storm is on the way, reduce your risk of migraine by limiting your exposure to other non-environmental triggers (diet, stress, sleep patterns)
  • Hormonal changes

    For many women living with migraine, hormonal headaches are common. Changes in estrogen levels, such as during menstruation or menopause, can be tied to migraine. Studies have shown that as many as 60% of migraine headaches experienced by women are menstrual related.

    • You can help prepare for this trigger by keeping track of your cycle, if you are menstruating
  • Sleep patterns
    • Inconsistent sleep times, getting up at different times and interrupted sleep could all be migraine triggers.
    • Regular and restful sleep can help prevent attacks and lessen migraine severity. Be sure to:
      • Try to get 7-8 hours of sleep every night to avoid fatigue
      • Shut off electronics or put them in a different room
      • Keep your bedroom cool, dark and quiet to create a good sleep environment
      • Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Some people set an alarm or reminder at night when it's time to power down and get ready for bed

Tracking your migraine attacks could help you learn more about your triggers along with their frequency and severity. We offer several ways you can share this information with your doctor to help inform your migraine management.

You may choose to use the Migraine Buddy app to track your migraine. Teva Pharmaceuticals is not responsible for and does not control the content contained on this third-party app.

App Store Google Play

Apps not your thing? Put pen to paper and track your triggers with our printable migraine diary.

Record and Discuss the Impact of Migraine

Exploring Treatment Options

Because everyone's migraine experience is different, finding the right treatment can be a trial and error approach. Common treatments are divided into two main approaches: preventive and acute.

Lifestyle changes may help some people reduce the frequency and severity of migraine attacks, but some patients may need to explore additional preventive treatment options. Preventive treatments may include prescription medications, behavioral therapies and/or interventional methods.

Learn about a preventive treatment option

Acute treatment options typically work to stop an attack or relieve symptoms after initial onset. Acute treatments can include over-the-counter medications, prescription medications, behavioral therapies and interventional methods.

Finding the right treatment for you requires talking to your doctor about how migraine impacts your daily life.

Go to Path to Prevention