Migraine Causes You Probably Haven't Heard of

5 Unexpected Migraine Causes

Those who suffer from migraines know just how debilitating these high-grade headaches can be. One of the ways to manage chronic migraines is to lessen the risk of experiencing them in the first place. To do this, we must first understand the underlying causes and frequent triggers of migraines. Some migraine triggers are better known, like stress or hormonal fluctuations, but there are numerous other causes that can set a painful migraine into motion. Arm yourself with the information below and you may be able to sidestep your next uncomfortable migraine episode.

Food Additives

Did you know that many artificial sweeteners and preservatives, such as aspartame and monosodium glutamate (also known as MSG) are documented migraine triggers, according to the Mayo Clinic? To avoid a crippling migraine, stay away from foods that utilize these ingredients.

Weather Changes

Changes in Barometric pressure—also known as atmospheric pressure—can also instigate a migraine. While you can’t avoid quick shifts from warm to cooler weather, or impending rainstorms and humidity fluctuations, you can keep tabs on weather changes and better prepare yourself with pain-relievers in the event a migraine should strike.

Strong Sensory Influences

Potent smells, bright lights, and sustained loud noises can also induce migraines in some chronic sufferers. That means sensory stimuli such as perfume, secondhand smoke, or even fluorescent lighting can provoke a migraine. If you sense one coming on, it’s best to remove yourself from the stimuli source as soon as possible.


Alcohol and caffeine consumption are thought to be two relatively common factors that can trigger a migraine. Some scientists are trying to clarify the connection between the gut bacteria of migraine sufferers and the causality of a migraine by studying the role that nitrates play. As research continues to develop, you may want to monitor your intake of alcohol and caffeine to determine whether these items may trigger your migraine symptoms.

Sleeping and Activity Patterns

If you’re a fairly routine sleeper but suddenly switch up your habits—either by getting dramatically more or less sleep—you may induce a migraine. Likewise, intense bouts of exercise can also trigger a migraine in chronic sufferers. If you’re trying to identify the cause of your migraines, consider some of the options above and adjust your daily routine accordingly.