Among the most common migraine trigger people report is stress. Controlling stress is a successful technique many people use to help reduce their migraines. But as a blogger on Migraine.com recently pointed out, it isn’t always the stress itself that leads to migraines. It may be related behaviors.
What Do You Do When You’re Stressed?
As this blogger noted, there are many things that people do when they’re stressed that can actually be the real cause of migraines, not the stress itself. Among the common problems she referred to were:
- Skipping meals
- Getting dehydrated
- Staying up late (sleeping in could also be a problem)
- Skipping medications or supplements that help
- Not checking for food triggers or other avoidable triggers
- Not paying attention to migraine warnings
When she realized what she was doing, she also realized that there were ways to stop her stress-related migraines that were completely unrelated to the stress itself. Instead, when she was faced with a stressful situation, she made sure that she focused on the things that could trigger her migraines and made choices that allowed her to avoid the migraines. This did not take the place of her migraine treatments, but it helped make her migraine treatment more effective.
This involved some choices that were hard, such as not staying up late when family was in town, or skipping snacks, cookies, and other holiday treats. She also had to make herself let go of some of the standards she had made for herself, such as thinking she always had to make a homemade, and home-decorated cake for her kids’ birthday parties.
Stress-Related Jaw Clenching
Another stress-related behavior that can often contribute to migraines is jaw clenching. For many people, migraines can be triggered by the muscle activity of jaw clenching. This can occur because the intense activity overloads the trigeminal nerve or because the jaw muscles are putting pressure on the trigeminal nerve. Since the trigeminal nerve is the origin point of migraines, the headaches inevitably follow.
Jaw clenching behavior can be lessened with TMJ treatment. TMJ treatment can also reduce the muscle tension that builds up in the jaw, reducing the risk that it will lead to nerve overload or pressure that causes migraines. This may not take the place of your other migraine treatments, but it might help make them more effective.
If you think that stress-related jaw clenching might be contributing to your migraines, we can help. Please call