it was quite maddening. I don't really know why I felt it was worth trying again, but I am certainly glad now that I did. Why is my elimination plan working now when it didn't before? This is a great question. I thought it was worth evaluating further.
The reason dietary triggers aren't fully recognized by all sufferers is complicated. Sometimes food triggers have an almost immediate impact on migraine and sometimes they take up to days before an impact is felt. This leads people to believe that a particular food is not a trigger because it is hard to see a direct correlation between the two events. It may be that the food was a trigger but the individuals overall "migraine threshold" was not reached with the ingestion of that dietary item. Most migrainuers will tell you that migraine triggers are cumulative, stackable, or add up. As I encounter migraine triggers, at some point a so-called "migraine threshold" is reached and the great migraine is set in motion. Where exactly my "migraine trigger threshold" sits, is still a great mystery, but I have a sense of when it is about to be reached these days and work to lower it. The years I spent in a chronic state of migraine made it difficult to tell specifically what was a trigger and what wasn't. It seemed everything was a trigger at that time in my life. How do you figure out your triggers? Another really good question. I eliminated as many of the known controllable migraine triggers as I possibly could. It sounds extreme to many, but the result of being migraine-free is worth the dietary sacrifices I make.
Here is a list of somewhat unavoidable triggers:
1. barometric pressure changes
2. hormonal changes
3. strong odors
4. bright lights
5. aerobic exercise
9. sleep deprivation
And here is a list of avoidable triggers (triggers dependent on the consumption of them):
4. tobacco (kind of a drug)
Diet is just a piece of the migraine pie. There are a bunch of other ingredients needed to create the perfect recipe for
migraine. If I look back at the differences between my two attempts at elimination diets there are some differences between the two:
1. My job stress was decreased during my successful attempt.
2. A number of the medications I was taking for migraine prevention (Topamax, Depakote, Pristiq, and Seroquel) were no
longer part of my regimen during the successful attempt.
3. I was no longer sleep deprived (as a result of the preventive medications) during the successful attempt.
4. I quit taking hormonal contraception in order to reduce another (stackable) trigger during the successful attempt.
5. I quit taking my triptans (due to their rebound potential) during my successful attempt.
6. I eliminated caffeine completely...I had been told to limit it to 8 oz. a day in my first attempt.
My point here is that an elimination diet is not a cure, but just a part of my migraine plan in an effort to reduce many of the
stackable or cumulative avoidable triggers that are present in my life. I believe as a result of keeping all my triggers to a minimum I have my life back. I know I am still migraine sensitive because at times I am still affected by the unavoidable triggers. During those times, I live a little more carefully. For example, I hydrate well and get to bed on time. And now, if I need to take an aspirin, naproxen, or ibuprofen...they actually work as intended.
We can still hope and work towards a "migraine cure", but I am so grateful I am currently able to manage my migraines successfully. It is my wish others achieve this same success in managing theirs.