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Stress and Migraine

Stress headaches

Stress tops the list of all psychological triggers and generally may also be the most potent trigger of migraine.  Although stress cannot be measured like the cholesterol level in the blood, the effects of emotional stress on health is still very significant. It is believed that more than half of all migraines are actually triggered by some type of emotionally stressful situation.

In fact during stressful periods, migraines tend to be more severe and frequent and unfortunately they also tend to last for a longer period of time. There have been many cases where migraine sufferers has identified that the onset of the disorder in their lives is directly associated with a time of severe stress. Common factors associated to emotional stress can include:

  • marital problems
  • financial issues
  • academic issues
  • mental fatigue
  • boredom
  • anxiety
  • frustration
  • excessive worry
  • depression
  • poorly balanced diet

In the case of the younger generation, migraines triggered by stress are often associated with worries about such things as examinations or planning to attend or perform in an important recital or concert. Sometimes the migraines occurring in these cases may happen before the event and sometimes after the event.

In some cases, patients discover their migraines cluster in weekends which seems rather unfair after going through a week of hard work. Some of the possible reasons why this is happening could be due to changes in smoking, sleep patterns, alcohol use, consumption of caffeine-containing beverages or other factors.