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Common Migraine Triggers

If you’re one of the 39 million Americans who suffer from chronic migraines, you know exactly how debilitating they can be. The pulsating pain, light sensitivity, and nausea can make it hard to get through your day.

While a migraine attack can seemingly come out of nowhere, certain circumstances can provoke the exhausting symptoms. 

At Nebben Physical Medicine in Clarksville, Tennessee, Dr. John Bassell and our team are dedicated not only to treating your chronic migraines but equipping you with the tools to identify and avoid triggers. 

Migraine basics

Migraines aren’t your typical headaches. Migraines are so severe that some people turn to the emergency room for relief during an attack. There are a few stages of a migraine attack:. 


Prodrome happens a day or two before your actual migraine. You might feel constipated, have a stiff neck, or experience mood changes among other symptoms that are warning signs of a looming attack. 


After prodrome comes aura. This stage occurs just before your migraine or during. Aura typically affects your vision but can have other effects like difficulty speaking, feeling pins and needles in your arms and legs, or hearing noises or music. Not every migraine sufferer experiences aura.


The attack comes next, bringing pain that’s typically accompanied by symptoms like:

The pain during the attack stage can last 4-72 hours.


Post-drome follows the attack and leaves you feeling exhausted, drained, and confused, often for a few days. 

Common migraine triggers

Migraines affect each person differently and can be set off by a variety of triggers. Here are a few of the main lifestyle factors and health issues that could be triggering your migraine.

You’re stressed out

When you’re feeling stress, your body releases extra amounts of hormones to stimulate your body’s fight-or-flight response. This natural reaction and the fluctuation of your hormones can be the spark that ignites a migraine attack. 

Try managing your stress with positive visualizations, breathing techniques, and a healthy lifestyle to reduce your risk for migraines. Ask Dr. Bassell for more stress management tips to ward off pain.

You’re consuming the trigger

You might not realize it, but the things you eat and drink could be the reason you struggle with migraines. Foods and drinks that can cause a migraine attack include:

Similarly, skipping meals or fasting for long periods of time can result in migraine pain. 

We recommend keeping a food diary and taking note of what you’re eating, how often you’re eating, and when your migraines occur. This can help Dr. Bassell determine what’s causing your migraines. 

Your environment has changed

The world around you has a huge impact on your physical health, especially if you’re prone to migraines. Bright lights, loud noises, strong perfumes, fumes from paint thinner, secondhand smoke, even changes in the weather can trigger a migraine. 

Do your best to notice the environmental factors that are present when your migraines begin, and then do your best to avoid them if possible. 

You’re experiencing physical changes

Sometimes, it’s the changes within your body that are the culprit. Hormonal changes, especially the ones brought on by oral contraceptive use and hormone replacement therapy, can throw your body off balance and cause migraines. 

You might also notice migraines starting as a result of increased or intense physical exertion. If this is true, adjust your exercise routine or take a rest from the gym and let Dr. Bassell know that physical activity is a trigger for your migraines. 

Whatever is causing your migraines, Dr. Bassell offers a comprehensive list of treatment options. 

Treating your migraines

We understand that not every trigger can be avoided. That’s why we’re proud to offer our patients a wide range of treatments. 

After evaluating your specific symptoms and determining the cause of your migraines, Dr. Bassell creates a custom treatment plan, combining lifestyle changes and support with natural physical medicine treatments, including:

Migraines can be life-altering, but they don’t have to be. We can give you the support, guidance, and treatment you need to not only live with your migraines but take control of them. 

If you’d like more information or would like to get started with treatment, call our office or schedule an appointment online today.

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