Caffeine

What is it?: a natural chemical that acts as a central nervous system stimulant Where is it?: coffee, chocolate, sodas, some pain relieves like Excedrine Is it a common trigger?: yes – and a common treatment! The Basics Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant and has multiple effects on your body and mind. It causes alertness, whichContinue reading “Caffeine”

Adverse Food Reactions

There are a lot of terms out there for abnormal reactions to food – food allergies, food intolerances, food triggers, and food sensitivities. So what’s the difference? Food Allergy A food allergy is probably the most well-known food reaction but is also the least common – and most dangerous. When you eat a food you’re allergicContinue reading “Adverse Food Reactions”

Tyramine

What is it?: a natural chemical produced when foods are aged or ripened Where is it?: fermented, aged, cured, and overripe foods Is it a common trigger?: probably not! The Basics Tyramine is a natural food chemical widely thought of as a common migraine trigger. It’s a result of the breakdown of tyrosine, an amino acid naturally foundContinue reading “Tyramine”

Evaluating Food Trigger Science

How do we figure out if a food is a “common trigger”? The science behind food triggers is always tricky. We all have our own unique chemistry that determines our personal triggers. Factors that influence how we react to food include: Our ability to digest and absorb food The composition of our gut bacteria Genetic mutationsContinue reading “Evaluating Food Trigger Science”

Histamine

What is it?: a natural chemical that is part of your immune system Where is it?: found naturally in your body and in certain foods like smoked meats, mature cheeses, and eggplant Is it a common trigger?: if histamine is building up in your system, then yes! The Basics Histamine is a natural chemical found in your body.Continue reading “Histamine”

MSG

What is it?: a food additive derived from glutamate, an amino acid Where is it?: packaged foods, Asian dishes Is it a common trigger?: probably not (hear me out!) The Basics MSG, or monosodium glutamate, is a food additive commonly found in Asian dishes and prepackaged foods. It’s known for its distinctive umami flavor and has long been thought ofContinue reading “MSG”

The 3 (Sometimes 4) Phases of Migraine

Migraine is more than just the episode itself – it’s surrounded by a series of warning signs, called the Prodrome, an optional Aura, and a hangover, called the Postdrome. It is not uncommon for someone with chronic or near-chronic migraine to be constantly affected by at least one of these phases, making it extremely difficult to experience aContinue reading “The 3 (Sometimes 4) Phases of Migraine”

Medication Overuse Headache

Medication overuse headache, also known as MOH or rebound headache, happens when the frequent use of pain medication leads to a decreased threshold for migraine and reinforces the pain pathways in your brain. In other words, your pain meds themselves start causing migraine episodes. MOH is common in people who have uncontrolled migraine for aContinue reading “Medication Overuse Headache”

Finding a Headache Specialist

If you’ve reached the point where your primary care physician is unable to help you manage your migraine, the most appropriate next step is to look for a headache specialist or other doctor who specializes in migraine disorders. Headache Specialists The American Migraine Foundation has a fantastic tool that allows you to find a qualified HeadacheContinue reading “Finding a Headache Specialist”

Migraine Types

If you’re new to migraine or just starting your research, you may be overwhelmed by the lingo used to describe different types of migraine.  Knowing which type (or types) of migraine you have can help you better describe it to your doctors, allow you to find more relevant information to your specific condition, and letContinue reading “Migraine Types”