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Reduce Migraine Suffering by Understanding Triggers

It is difficult to see loved ones suffer from the cycle of migraine headaches. The incredible pain, often followed by episodes of vomiting, is enough to make anyone beg for answers. Migraines are difficult to understand, and as a consequence, can be very difficult to treat. People desperate to ease the torment often turn to painkillers that end up making the cycle of headaches more frequent and more resistant to gentle treatment. The key to relieving the pain cycle is to understand the individual causes, or triggers, of your loved one's headache. Migraines are more complicated than just pain in our head. Migraines are often a symptom of a deeper inflammatory problem.

Gut Health

According to a 2014 article published in Frontiers of Neurology, there is an association between disorders of the gut and migraine activity.

“Several studies demonstrated significant associations between migraine and celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and IBS. Possible underlying mechanisms of migraine and GI diseases could be increased gut permeability and inflammation.”(Hemert, Saskia van, et al., 2014)

For children, this link may even extend to infancy. One of the studies cited in the article, Before the Headache: Infant Colic as an Early Life Expression of Migraine, suggested a link between maternal migraines and infants suffering from colic. Being careful to limit foods that are known to trigger migraines may be a good first step in easing outside stimuli for your child. Supplements can also be added in to create the body's best environment for waging war on migraines. You should discuss a good plan of treatment with a caregiver that understands which supplements are the best to encourage this environment.

Triggers and Inflammation

Stimuli that might not be a problem for most people may be intolerable for a vulnerable migraine sufferer. Increased sensitivity to normal stimuli might be indicitive of a nervous system that is “close to threshold.” What this means is that the individual cells in the nervous system might “fire” a signal earlier than they should. This is usually due to a compromise in the cell’s health. Neurons need three things to function properly; fuel, oxygen and blood flow. If any of these things is compromised, there is can be an inflammatory response. This will cause the neurons to lose their ability to regulate their response to common stimuli.

A day spent playing in the heat, flashing lights, or strong smells can all have a trigger the pain cascade. It can be helpful to identify different triggers that initiate a migraine BUT this is only half the battle. The best way to address migraines is to decrease whole body inflammation along with minimizing exposure to individualized triggers.

Stress and the Physical Response

The stress that is a daily part of our lives can be harder to prevent, but its impact on the body is real. As a constant undercurrent in a person's life, it may act as a platform that lowers the numbers of other triggers they can manage before a headache is imminent. For this reason, some other treatments, such as cranial sacral therapy, may have a positive impact on helping to lower the overall trigger threshold.

Beginning to see the body as interconnected and treating it with gentleness is a path that can lead away from the frequent pain many children suffer from migraine headaches. Get to know and understand the things inside and out that have a negative impact on your child and begin to eliminate them. Then you can be a witness to wellness.


Hemert, Saskia van, et al. "Migraine Associated with Gastrointestinal Disorders: Review of the Literature and Clinical Implications." Advances in Pediatrics., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 21 Nov. 2014, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4240046/.

Gelfand, A A, et al. "Before the Headache: Infant Colic as an Early Life Expression of Migraine." Advances in Pediatrics., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 25 Sept. 2012, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22972642/.