Why Do I Get Constant Migraines?

Medically Reviewed on 6/1/2022
chronic migraine
Although the exact cause of migraines is unknown, physicians have gotten a better grasp of what occurs when migraines become chronic.

Constant migraines are known as chronic migraines. These are migraine headaches that last for 15 days or more for three consecutive months. It is unknown what causes constant migraines. However, researchers believe that there are certain possibilities that cause constant migraines.

4 causes of constant migraines

Four possible causes of constant migraines include:

  1. Family history: According to the American Migraine Foundation, if one or both of your parents have migraines, you have a 50 to 75 percent risk of acquiring them.
  2. Age: Migraines can begin at any age, even in youth. They are most common and severe in your 30s, and you tend to get fewer migraine attacks as you grow older. Migraines usually decline after 50 to 55 years; however, they do persist in some people. 
  3. Sex: Women are three times more prone to migraine attacks than men. Moreover, 75 percent of women experience migraine attacks during the time of their menstrual cycle. This is known as menstrual migraine, and it occurs as a result of a shift in estrogen and progesterone levels during monthly cycles. Along with dietary and lifestyle changes, the balance of hormones can be achieved by various birth control methods to avoid future migraine attacks. 
  4. Medical conditions: Depression, anxiety, obesity, and snoring are among a variety of diseases associated with an increased probability of experiencing migraine episodes that can develop into chronic migraines, according to the American Migraine Foundation.

10 triggers of constant migraines

Although the exact cause of migraines is unknown, physicians have gotten a better grasp of what occurs when migraines become chronic. A migraine episode can be triggered by several lifestyles and environmental variables known as "triggers." Traditionally, the less sensitive you are to triggers, the fewer headaches you get every month, and the faster you can stop them. 

Ten common triggers of constant migraine include:

  1. Stress
    • Stress is one of the most common, yet difficult to prevent, migraine causes. Stress can either be the major cause or a contributing component to your migraine.
    • Emotional stress not only causes migraines but also may prevent you from sleeping, which can trigger migraines. If you have a migraine, you may be concerned about it, so the cycle continues with little possibility of relief. 
    • Avoiding stressful circumstances will help you avoid headaches induced by stress, but figuring out how to do so can be difficult. Begin by establishing a list of the things that are known to cause you unnecessary stress and anxiety and then attempt to eliminate these triggers from your life. 
    • Relaxation treatment, meditation, exercise, and sticking to a constant sleep pattern can all be incredibly beneficial in stress management. These tactics will not remove all stress from your life, but they will alter your body's physiological reaction to stress, reducing the ability of stress to cause a migraine episode.
  2. Irregular sleep schedule
    • There is a clear link between migraine and sleep. Because sleep renews and restores all areas of the body, including the brain regions, it is evident that when your sleep routine becomes irregular, you are more likely to experience migraine episodes.
    • Usually, half of the migraine attacks occur between 4:00 am and 9:00 am, which increases the risks of sleeping issues. To avoid it, you need to make a sleep routine and go to bed at the same time daily and sleep for at least seven to eight hours.
    • You are suggested to avoid watching TV, texting, reading, and listening to music in bed and try not to nap throughout the day.
  3. Medication overuse
    • Ironically, if you experience frequent migraine headaches and are on prescription medicine to control a migraine during an attack, taking such medication for more than 10 days per month might promote more migraine attacks, and this condition is called medication overuse headache (MOH). 
    • If you have MOH, you must first discontinue the medicine and allow it to pass off your system. Work with your doctor to understand how to properly taper off certain drugs, such as opioids or butalbital-containing medications.
  4. Alcohol and caffeine
    • Many people experience an increase in migraine symptoms after ingesting coffee or alcohol. However, others claim that a cup of coffee helps alleviate migraine symptoms, and even certain migraine treatments contain caffeine
    • Some people with migraine believe red wine to be the most common alcoholic migraine trigger. However, research revealed that other forms of alcohol cause migraines.
    • You must restrict your alcohol intake, and you should know when to stop. If you experience the onset of any signs or symptoms of a migraine attack after intake of alcohol, immediately take your prescription medicine. 
  5. Changes in weather
    • Storms, severe heat, and changes in barometric pressure are all classic migraine triggers that can lead to an attack. Dehydration is another major trigger caused by high humidity and heat.
    • Because we cannot control the weather, if the conditions are not favorable for your migraine, stay indoors or change your schedule appropriately. If you have the assignment to do in the middle of a sunny day, schedule it for the morning before it gets too hot. 
  6. Dehydration
    • Dehydration is a trigger for almost 33 percent of people with migraine. Even the slightest indication of dehydration can set off a chain reaction of terrible migraines.
    • Dehydration has a wide-ranging effect on the body, causing dizziness, disorientation, and even a medical emergency. You must always carry a bottle of water and keep track of your fluid intake. An attack can sometimes be halted by merely sipping a glass of water. 
  7. Strong light
    • Sunlight is the enemy of many people with migraine. This is known as photophobia, and it is one of the criteria used to diagnose migraine. Natural, strong light and fluorescent or flickering bulbs are troublesome, making it difficult to spend time outside or in an office setting. Wearing sunglasses while outside is beneficial.
    • When exposed to artificial light, sit closer to windows and away from glaring lights. It is well established that greenlight does not trigger migraines; therefore, using bulbs that emit green light or sunglasses that deflect everything, but green light will be beneficial.
  8. Strong smell
    • Osmophobia, hypersensitivity, or aversion to scents is a typical migraine symptom. Some scents may stimulate nerve receptors in the nasal passages, triggering a migraine episode or exacerbating an existing one.
    • Perfumes, strong food odors, chemicals, and gasoline should all be avoided. If you work in an office, inform your coworkers about your illness, and don't be hesitant to request that they refrain from wearing perfume or cologne.
  9. Smoking
    • Cigarettes are harmful to your health in a variety of ways, including increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer. You may add migraines to that list as well.
    • Cigarette nicotine causes your blood vessels to constrict (or narrow), enabling less blood to reach your brain. One of the reasons for migraine headaches is this.
    • Nicotine withdrawal can sometimes cause migraines, especially in people who smoke frequently. This means you may have a migraine attack between the time frame of consecutive smoking sessions. Of course, stopping smoking completely can help avoid nicotine withdrawal migraines in the long run.
  10. Diet
    • The list of foods that can cause migraine attacks includes:
      • Chocolate
      • Foods that contain histamines (alcohols or fermented beverages)
      • Monosodium glutamate
      • Cheese and other dairy products
      • Fermented or pickled foods
      • Artificial sweeteners
      • Cured or processed meats
      • Yeast
    • If you can pinpoint particular dietary triggers, avoid them as much as possible. Many people follow a migraine diet, which excludes foods and components known to cause migraines.


Who suffers more frequently from migraine headaches? See Answer

How to avoid triggers to prevent constant migraines

If your migraine episodes are caused by a single factor, it may be straightforward to avoid. However, avoiding assaults that are caused by a combination of factors may be more difficult.

Avoiding your triggers might be challenging if it implies changing your lifestyle because:

  • Routines may be tough to break.
  • Other people may be involved, making adjustments more difficult.
  • Major changes may be required, which will take time, effort, and support.
  • It may have a negative influence on other aspects of your life.

Keep a headache journal on a daily basis. Consult your headache expert as soon as you detect an increase in the number of headaches you are experiencing. Do not put off seeking treatment until your headaches become an everyday occurrence. Chronic migraine is simpler to stop and reverse if identified early.

It is crucial to be realistic about the consequences of recognizing and avoiding triggers. You may be able to minimize the frequency of your headaches if you avoid your triggers, but you may not be able to eliminate them entirely. You may require additional treatments to regulate your illness.

As you become healthier and fitter with general lifestyle changes, you will be able to deal with migraine attacks better. You should strive to exercise on a regular basis and consume a well-balanced diet.

It is important to remember that not everyone has the same migraine triggers. You must not hesitate to discuss your triggers with your doctor or headache specialist. It will help them offer you a thorough diagnosis and begin the best treatment plan for your symptoms.

Medically Reviewed on 6/1/2022
Image Source: iStock image

10 Possible Causes of Your Migraines — and What You Can Do About It: https://www.chestercountyhospital.org/news/health-eliving-blog/2021/june/10-possible-causes-of-your-migraines

Migraine attack triggers: https://migrainetrust.org/live-with-migraine/self-management/common-triggers/

Chronic Migraine: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9638-chronic-migraine