Avoiding The Pain: Migraine Causes You Should Know About

Migraine headaches are widely regarded as one of the worst pains you can experience short of losing a limb, yet are relatively common; among Americans, 37 million have been diagnosed with migraine headaches, with around 3 million of those sufferers having chronic migraines (chronic migraines being those that occur for 15+ days a month over the course of three months). But what can cause these all-too-common head pains? If you're wondering what started your migraines (or what to avoid in order to have them pass you by), then here's what you need to know.


For some unlucky migraine sufferers, there's nothing you can do to avoid them – they're in your genes. Children with a parent who suffers from migraines are more likely to suffer from them themselves, especially if the parent sees auras as a precursor to the actual migraine beginning. Ask around your family about migraine history; if one of your parents suffers from migraines – or even if you know a few aunts or uncles who get them – it's a good idea to try to avoid known triggers such as bright, flashing lights or strong smells.

Other Conditions

There are plenty of conditions that happen alongside migraines; depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder are the three most common, but post-traumatic stress disorder (more commonly known as PTSD) can also occur with migraines. If you have any of these conditions and have noticed severe headaches, it's worth a trip to the hospital to get an MRI done to confirm the migraine diagnosis. If your doctor has any doubt about the migraine, MRI imaging can confirm the presence of a migraine while also looking for other conditions that could cause a migraine, like meningitis or acute glaucoma.


Stress really can be a killer – but it can trigger migraines in the human much more quickly. This can be any type of stress, from menstrual periods or pregnancy to prolonged hunger, dehydration, and psychological stress (like a tough working environment or job change). The good news is that this is a trigger that you can control, for the most part. Helping your body to relax by getting regular massages (especially to the head, neck, and shoulder areas on your body), taking time to yourself, and keeping a list of priorities should help to cut down on the amount of stress you hold in your body – and thus should stop stress from triggering any migraines.