If you can understand the reasons why you have migraines, you can head them off before they start. And that’s the best treatment possible. Here’s a guide to some of the more common migraine triggers that you can use to try to avoid your migraines.

woman with a pressure headache

Migraine Triggers

There are many things that we do every day that can trigger migraines. To identify your migraine triggers, try keeping a migraine diary. Pay attention to all the things you do and eat before you develop your migraine. Here are some of the more common migraine triggers to look out for:


The things you eat or drink can significantly impact your migraines. Caffeine is a known migraine trigger for many people, either directly or during withdrawal. Alcohol can cause migraines because of its effects on the brain and because it can lead to dehydration. Artificial sweeteners and monosodium glutamate (MSG) have been linked to migraines for some people.


Medications that affect your blood flow can trigger migraines, including blood pressure medications and erectile dysfunction (ED) drugs. Some vitamins can trigger migraines and medications that contain hormones or caffeine can also cause migraines. SSRIs and other antidepressants can also lead to migraines. Sometimes, you may experience serious rebound headaches from using too many pain medications.

Hormonal Fluctuations

Women of childbearing ages can experience migraines related to their menstrual cycle or in relation to the cycle of their birth control medication.


Emotional stress can lead to jaw clenching which can cause migraines or it can lead directly to migraines.


Sleep problems, either getting too much or not enough sleep, can lead to migraines. Sleep apnea can also be a cause of migraines.

Woman stretching at home


Stimulating your heart and blood flow can trigger migraines in some people.


As with exercise, some people develop migraines in response to sexual excitement or activity.

If you identify certain activities or dietary items that seem to be causing your migraines, you can begin avoiding them to try to reduce migraines. With medications, talk to your doctor first before stopping taking them.

Migraine Treatments

Once you’ve identified your migraine triggers, you’re ready to start trying to reduce your headaches. Here’s a progression of treatments to consider for your migraines.

Address Triggers

Look at your list of triggers. Start by cutting out one or two that seem to be most closely associated with your migraines. Remember, talk to your doctor before modifying your medications. It’s also important to note that what is a migraine trigger for some people might be a migraine cure for others. Exercise, sex, and caffeine have been shown to cure migraines as well as cause them.

Try Migraine-Busting Foods

Some foods have been shown to reduce migraines. Peppermint, ginger, and spicy chilis can sometimes knock out migraines or prevent them.

Vitamin Supplements

vitamins rich in omega-fatty acidsSome nutrients have been shown to reduce migraines. Magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin B2 (riboflavin), all have some support as migraine prevention, but the evidence is limited. Avoid taking a multivitamin, because some nutrients also act as migraine triggers. And remember to talk to your doctor before taking vitamin supplements.

TMJ Treatment

Temporomandibular joint disorder can trigger migraines by causing adverse stimulation of the trigeminal nerve or its branches. Nonsurgical, noninvasive, and reversible treatments are recommended until you have established its effectiveness for you.


Migraine medications are only partly effective, and they carry significant side effects, but for some people they are a godsend. If you haven’t been able to get relief, medications may be the right course for you.


Surgery is considered a last resort for migraine treatment, but sometimes that’s what’s necessary.

If you are trying to track down the right treatment for your migraines and haven’t yet tried TMJ treatment, we can help. Please call (843) 706-2999 for an appointment at Beyond Exceptional Dentistry for an appointment with a Hilton Head TMJ dentist.