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What common environmental triggers can cause migraines?

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Listed below are common environmental triggers for headaches included in a survey by the National Headache Foundation and the percentage of people who identified them as triggers. People often have more than one type of trigger for their headaches.

  • Weather or barometric pressure changes: 73%
  • Intense odors: 64%
  • Bright or flickering lights: 59%
  • Smoke: 53%
  • Extreme heat or cold: 38%
  • Altitude changes: 31%
  • High winds: 18% Most of the participants reported that these environmental triggers have kept them from participating in their normal outdoor activities. They also said they'd stayed away from places likely to have smoke in the air, such as restaurants or bars.

SOURCES:

National Headache Foundation: "Environmental and Physical Factors."

American Headache Society: "Tools: Headache Diaries."

WebMD Medical News: "Weather Behind Headaches, Sufferers Say."

eMedicine.com: "Pathophysiology and Treatment of Migraine and Related Headache."

National Headache Foundation: "January 2008 Survey: Environmental Triggers and Headache."

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson on August 18, 2019

SOURCES:

National Headache Foundation: "Environmental and Physical Factors."

American Headache Society: "Tools: Headache Diaries."

WebMD Medical News: "Weather Behind Headaches, Sufferers Say."

eMedicine.com: "Pathophysiology and Treatment of Migraine and Related Headache."

National Headache Foundation: "January 2008 Survey: Environmental Triggers and Headache."

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson on August 18, 2019

NEXT QUESTION:

Why do people get headaches in extreme weather?

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