There are many misconceptions about the cause of migraines, but one thing is for sure: they are not a sign that you have a brain tumor. While there is no one-size-fits-all cure, some people find relief through changes in diet and lifestyle. If you don’t experiment with what works for your body and mind, you can spend years trying different migraine treatments in vain. Learn more about the five most common underlying causes of migraines.

1. Hormonal Changes

It is believed that migraines are affected by the menstrual cycle, and most women with migraines experience at least once during their menstrual cycle. Stress can also trigger migraines.

The hormone estrogen levels fluctuate during the menstrual cycle and can act as a trigger for some people. Estrogen has been shown to reduce sensitivity to pain in the brain, but it can also cause more severe pain signals when you’re deficient in estrogen. As estrogen levels change and the hormone is redistributed, it can increase your pain sensitivity.

Also, hormonal imbalance during pregnancy can lead to the development of headaches. You can control these headaches by taking painkillers, but it’s important to talk to your doctor about how these drugs might disrupt your cycle.

2. TMJ Disorders

TMJ refers to any joints or muscles in the jaw that cause pain or stiffness. It is a prevalent ailment, and it is also very dangerous. TMD affects one in three people at some point during their lives, and the most common symptoms include pain in the jaw, muscle tension, and TMJ clicking.

Many people with TMD also experience migraines. It can be linked to a facet joint abnormality or a problem within the muscles of the face. To resolve the migraine caused by TMD, you can get professional treatment. Getting TMJ treatment in Raleigh NC can help to make your jaw pain milder and easier to manage. This can also reduce the pressure on your brain and prevent migraines from occurring.

3. Stress

Stressful situations, such as losing your job, getting divorced, or moving to a new home, can trigger migraines for you if it is a pattern. Typically, the migraines will start with the stressor and end once it has been figured out or resolved. The tension built up in your body can make your head hurt even though the situation that caused your headache is long gone.

Avoiding stress as much as you can helps you keep your migraines under control. Stress triggers are often beyond your control, but you can do things to improve your mood and prevent migraines. Visit our Guide to Managing Stress page for the top tips to reduce stress and relieve tension.

4. Low Blood Sugar

Your body typically stores blood sugar in your liver and muscles, not in your brain. But it is extremely important to your brain, and it allows you to think, control your muscles, and have a stable mood. If you don’t eat at regular intervals or eat unhealthy foods, you can experience low blood sugar levels.

This can make your migraines much more severe than they would have been otherwise. It’s also easy to overlook that feeling of low blood sugar because it can be quite different from a headache. You can treat a case of low blood sugar with healthy foods, but it’s important to get help from a doctor or nutritionist.

5. Sleep Changes

One of the things you can learn from a migraine is that it is not caused by one thing. While there are some common comorbidities, a lot of people experience headache symptoms in different ways. One of them is sleep disruptions.

If you’re often waking up with throbbing headaches and sleepiness all day, then your body needs to sleep, even if it feels like you don’t need it. Many people experience their worst migraines when they don’t get enough sleep.

Sleep is important for your body and mind; you should get a decent amount of sleep every night. You can also cut down on caffeine and alcohol intake to help. Most importantly, don’t wait until you’re exhausted to fall asleep – try to get going around 10 pm if you can manage it. Taking a nap during the day can also give you a better night’s sleep and help prevent migraines. Make sure that your sleeping environment is quiet and dark. Don’t allow distractions such as TV or cell phones to disrupt your sleep.


Brain tumors or tension headaches do not cause migraines. They are caused by changes in hormones, TMJ disorders, low blood sugar, or stress. Make sure that you try to discover the underlying cause of your migraines and take care of it. You should also get good rest and control any stress that is causing your migraines.