Migraine Trigger Diary

Many people find that keeping a Migraine diary can help them recognise a pattern to their migraines. They can then avoid one or more things that may trigger their migraine attacks.

Some people need a combination of triggers to trigger a migraine. For example, some women may only get a migraine if they drink red wine and are having a period. Another example is that a food trigger may only trigger a migraine if you are also over-tired.

There are several factors that have been identified as triggers of a migraine. The following are some possible triggers:

Emotional Triggers:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Tension
  • Shock
  • Depression
  • Excitement

Physical Triggers:

  • Tiredness
  • Poor quality of sleep
  • Shift work
  • Poor posture
  • Neck or shoulder tension
  • Jet lag
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia)
  • Strenuous exercise, if you are not used to it

Dietary Triggers:

  • Delayed or irregular meals- causing peaks and troughs (drops) in blood sugar levels
  • Dehydration
  • Alcohol
  • Tyramine (food additive)
  • Caffeine-containing products, such as coffee or tea
  • Specific foods such as chocolate, citrus fruit or cheese

Environmental Triggers:

  • Bright lights
  • Flickering screens, such as television or computer screen
  • Smoking
  • Loud noises
  • Changes in climate (humidity or cold temperatures)
  • Strong smells

We've given you an example of a migraine diary below. You might find it useful to fill it in over 3-4 months so that you and your doctor can develop a better understanding of your migraines.

Download your example Trigger Diary here


Get some useful tips to help prevent a migraine attack.

Find out more

About migraine

What is a migraine? What causes it and What Can You Do About It?

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© Johnson & Johnson Limited 2015. This site was last updated on: 20th August 2018

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