• Shruti GOCHHWAL

Stress and Migraine – Is There a Link?

Various studies over the decades have demonstrated a link between increased levels of stress and a host of health conditions. Everyone feels stressed at some point in their life. But enhanced stress levels over a period of time can become dangerous to an individual’s health. One of the most common conditions associated with tension and anxiety is migraine.

Effectively controlling your stress levels can reduce the frequency of migraine attacks. These prolonged periods of intense headaches happen when you have no room in your lifestyle for relaxation and rejuvenation. Although there are many other causes of migraines, stress is one of the major reasons that can be brought under control. Many people suffer from stress migraine symptoms but refuse to acknowledge them. Such neglect can exacerbate the condition and put their health at risk.

How Stress Triggers Migraine

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Person suffering from stress, Credit: Pixabay


Stress has a huge role to play in the onset of a migraine attack. Not only that, it even has the potential to worsen the severity of the attack. A 2007 study has pointed out that increased levels of tension and anxiety experienced by individuals in their personal lives were associated with increased frequency of migraine attacks. It has been verified by a 2014 study published in ‘European Journal of Pain’. It concluded that job-related anxiety, like high job demands, low social support, etc. are the major reasons behind the occurrence of migraine attacks.

Stress can be of different types. It usually consists of intense emotions like anxiety, shock, excitement, tension, etc. These emotions are linked to an increased occurrence of migraine episodes. Thus, stress migraine anxiety is one which is commonly experienced by many people.

How to Find out If Stress Is the Cause Behind Your Migraine?

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Person suffering migraine attack, Credit: Pixabay


A useful way of knowing if you experience migraine after stress is to keep a migraine diary. It can help you point out exactly the kinds of stress that trigger migraine attacks in your head. In your diary, you should keep track of the following things:

  1. The time when your headache starts, its duration, and location

  2. Vitamins or other supplements that you consume

  3. Your daily food intake

  4. And, Your daily exercise

  5. Your menstrual cycle details

  6. Your stress levels everyday

  7. The duration of sleep and rest you get

What Are the Symptoms of Stress Induced Migraines?

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Person feeling fatigued, Credit: Pixabay


You will experience a stressful situation a day before the onset of the migraine attack. The symptoms of stress induced migraines are:

  1. Constipation

  2. Irritability

  3. Tiredness

  4. Pain in the chest

  5. High pulse rate

  6. Mood swings and depression

  7. A reduced interest in sex

How Can You Get Stress Migraine Relief?

One of the most practical and effective things you can do to reduce the frequency of your migraines is to minimize your stress levels. The following measures will help you a lot in this process.

  1. Focus on the important things

  2. Schedule your time

  3. Spend time with people

  4. Get adequate rest

1.   Focus on Important Things

migraine after stress

Diagram showing task scheduling, Credit: Pixabay


List all your priorities and determine which are the most important. Prioritize those tasks that make you happy in order to lead a stress free life. It’s time for you to sit and analyse what is really worth your time and efforts and what is not.

2.   Schedule Your Time

stress migraine relief

Diagram showing the importance of time, Credit: Pixabay


Schedule and organise your time in a way that will help you get some time for yourself. Always being busy is a major contributor to stress. You need some breathing time to focus on yourself.

3.   Spend Time with People

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Spending time with near ones, Credit: Pixabay


Nurture your relationships and spend some time daily with your partners or loved ones. Go out for a walk or a vacation and enjoy yourself. Interact with those who are near to you and it will surely make you happy and content.

4.   Get Enough Sleep

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Person getting adequate sleep, Credit: Pixabay


Poor sleep quality is related to increased frequency of headaches and mood swings. Sleep disorders like insomnia trigger migraine. Practice good sleeping habits, exercise everyday, and eat nutritious foods to improve your quality of sleep.

Recognising the symptoms of stress induced migraine is the first step towards treating it. A healthy lifestyle is the foundation to preventing any kind of anxiety and stress related problems.

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