Do you know what triggers your migraine? If not, have you ever tried keeping a diary and recording the times when you have these headaches? If migraines are recurring, it is best to make a note in your diary about the triggers and the severity of the pain. By keeping track of your triggers, you may be able to avoid, or at least anticipate, future instances of migraine.

There are at least five common triggers of migraines; the first one on this list is stress; it being the most common of all. While stress can't be helped, relaxation techniques can greatly alleviate your mental and emotional state. By focusing on slow, relaxed breathing, let the air inflate and deflate you like a balloon. Visual imagery is also a great complement to these breathing techniques. Think of beautiful and tranquil scenery while you inhale and exhale slowly.

Some people also report that their migraines are triggered by flickering lights or  fluorescent light. Other triggers include disrupting reflection from water or from staring at the TV screen for prolonged periods. To avoid migraines when heading outside, it is advisable to wear polarizing sunglasses. As for indoor lighting, daylight-spectrum fluorescent bulbs can help.

Do you often miss out on your meals at the right time? Are you getting enough rest every night? Lack of food and poor sleep are also known triggers of migraines. Skipping meals can lead to low blood sugar, which can cause the headaches. And don't forget to get six to eight hours of sleep every night.

For women, migraines may occur a few days before or during their menstrual cycle. This is caused when the estrogen levels drop. Some women report that taking hormonal birth control pills or anti-inflammatory medications before the headaches begin can help.

Food is also a trigger of migraines. Cheese, soy sauce, chocolate, red wine, processed meats and those containing MSG are among the common culprits.

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The Right Treatment

Interventional pain specialist Arif B. Khan, MD, offers lasting solutions for several pain conditions. He has helped people of all ages in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex area of TX. His treatment recommendations always start with conservative interventions such as activity modification, therapeutic exercise or physical therapy.

I'm very pleased with the Medtronic Neurostimulator I received on the advice of Dr Khan. - Bridget.E

Arif B. Khan, MD, is the medical director of Texas Interventional Pain Care, an interventional pain center specializing in the treatment of many painful conditions, and located at 2201 N. Central Express Way, Suite 171, Richardson, TX 75080; 222 South Collins Road Suite 101, Sunnyvale, TX 75182. Phone: 972-952-0290 or fax 972-952-0293.