6 Common Causes Of Migraines (That You May Not Realize) — And How To Treat The Headaches Without Medication

causes of frequent migraines common causes of migraines
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Has this ever happened to you? You're getting back from a long day of work, the stress of your nine-to-five job is deleterious to your wellbeing, the lack of sleep and the anxiety has gotten to you — when you get home you begin to feel that pain in her head. You have a migraine.

This story happens plenty of times to millions of people around the world on a regular basis, and it’s important to know why. Why do you get migraines? What causes migraines that pop up seemingly out of the blue? How can you prevent a migraine from happening, or stop one in its tracks?

With as common of a problem migraines tend to be, luckily there's a ton of information and resources out there to help you. We've gathered some of the common migraine causes, and what you can do to prevent them from happening so you can live your life headache free.

RELATED: Careful! These 8 Foods Are Serious Migraine Triggers


What causes a migraine?

There are many possible causes for migraines, and no one person is the same. But below are some commonly known triggers for headaches and migraines you may not realize:

1. Stress

Stressing out over a test, anxiety about speaking to a large crowd, or the shock of finding out you have a new family member.

2. Artificial Sweeteners

In an episode of the Doctor Oz show, he discusses artificial sweeteners and their possible contributions to migrain headaches. When you follow diets that are low in carbohydrates, they usually have artificial sweeteners in their ingredients (such as a lot of yogurts, jelly, coffee creamers, etc) that can cause migraines in some people. Of course, everyone is different so these sweeteners can have a high impact — or no impact at all. 

3. Coffee and caffeine

If you have developed a tolerance for caffeine in things like coffee and are not consistent with the schedule of your caffeine intake, it's likely you could experience a headache — if not a full-blown migraine. According to an article by My Health News Daily & Live Science, director of Behavioral Pharmacology and Health Promotion at American University, Laura M. Juliano explains,

"In general caffeine does not directly cause headaches. Regular caffeine consumption leads to physical dependence on caffeine, which manifests as withdrawal symptoms when a caffeine user abruptly stops using caffeine. A diffuse throbbing headache is a hallmark feature of caffeine withdrawal."

So if you desire to get off the coffee addiction — you need to take it slowly. Going too fast can cause you more pain than you anticipate.

4. Perfumes and strong scents

Passing the perfume section with all of those strong scents can almost immediately trigger a migraine.

5. The weather

If you desire to travel to another part of the world such as Mexico, Italy, or Amsterdam then you can experience weather-related migraines.

6. Hormones and menstruation

Unfortunately for women, it’s three times more likely for women to suffer from hormone-related migraines than men.

6. Sex

Yep, although it may be unusual, the intense physical experience of sex can trigger headaches and migraines too.

RELATED: Why So Many Women Suffer From Chronic Migraines & How It Affects Their Daily Lives

So how do you stop a migraine from happening?

Usually people's first response is to rush to CVS to grab a pack of Tylenol, but there are different options to relieving the pain without medicine.

1. Make a "Migraine Milkshake".

On Doctor Oz’s show, he talks about creating a “migraine smoothie” of sorts. You want to make a smoothie that has no artificial sweeteners, no preservatives, with ingredients such as lemon, ginger, and vegetables.

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2. Avoid the glowing rectangles (TV, phones, computers) at bedtime.

Avoiding those Netflix marathons of the Office that leaves you staying up until 3 a.m. also is a way to get rid of it. Not only will it prevent the light from the TV from triggering a migraine, it'll help you get some sleep. 

3. Exercise.

Going to the gym to do some yoga, lifting, or cardio also helps. According to a Healthline article published in 2018, a study of more than 92,000 people stated that people who don’t exercise as often are more susceptible to headaches.

4. Drink less alcohol.

Alcohol is a migraine trigger, according to the American Migraine Foundation, so throwing away the bottle of wine and replacing it with bottles of water is a huge factor not just in weight loss, but also in reducing your frequent migraines.

5. Hot and cold compresses.

Alternate using ice cubes (in a towel as to not cool your skin too much) and a heating pad. You can place it on your head for 15 minutes to calm the tension.

If you suffer from a migraine it’s usually nothing to be concerned about, but if it’s a regular occurrence for you, speaking to your doctor is the best option to treat your pain. 

RELATED: Which Zodiac Signs Get Migraines The Most, Per Astrology

Steven Hall is a writer who covers trending, pop culture and relationship topics.