Karamo Brown Shared How Stress and News Can Trigger Migraines

One of the fab five on Netflix's "Queer Eye" discussed how doomscrolling can trigger migraines.

The pain of a migraine can put you down and out. The neurological disorder can affect your daily life, with intense headaches, brain fog, and nausea sidelining you. 

But the more you know about what triggers your migraines, the easier it is to stop or prevent them from happening. The first step to finding what might trigger your migraine is to keep a journal about things you encounter in the time leading up to your attack.

What Triggers Migraines?

According to the American Migraine Foundation, some of the most common migraine triggers include:

  • Stress
  • Poor sleep
  • Hormone changes
  • Overusing alcohol or caffeine
  • Changes in weather patterns
  • Diet and foods with monosodium glutamate (MSG) and histamines
  • Being dehydrated
  • Overusing prescription medications

Some people with chronic migraine also list the flickering of fluorescent bulbs and encountering strong smells, like perfumes and gasoline, as triggers.

News as a Stress Trigger

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown orders, many people were addicted to watching the news in 2020. 

"There were a lot of moments where I caught myself watching the news, constantly on this news cycle," Karamo Brown, one of the fab five on the Netflix show "Queer Eye," told Health.

Staying glued to headlines every hour of every day isn't necessarily healthy for anyone. But it was especially damaging to Brown because of his chronic health condition. 

"I suffer from migraine. And migraine is brought on a lot by stress. [The news] would just be bringing out so much stress to me, which was triggering my migraine," explained Brown.

"You just think, 'I'm staying informed,' or 'I'm being aware of what's happening.' But literally all you're doing is triggering yourself over and over again," said Brown. That led to an epiphany about the toll the news took on Brown's body. 

"It was like, 'Relax, stop watching it.' I have to take a step back and focus on something positive," noted Brown.

Headache Journaling

Keeping a journal of your migraine events can help you find the best solutions to treat and prevent migraine attacks. Detailing the circumstances of your migraines will give you a sense of the warning signs, patterns, and triggers that proceed with an event. 

That way, in the future, you'll be better prepared. It also helps a healthcare provider treat your situation. According to the National Headache Foundation, your record should include the following:

  • Day or date of your attack, including the day of the week
  • How long the attack lasted
  • The severity of pain, like between one and 10, with 10 being the worse
  • Symptoms you experienced, such as dizziness, light or sound sensitivity, numbness
  • The location of where the pain is experienced and how it progressed or declined
  • The medication you took, like the timing and amount

Use the list of triggers at the beginning of this piece to guide some of what you should consider. Also, include notes about events from the hours or days leading up to the attack. 

As you journal, you'll become more aware of your headaches and their ebb and flow. You'll also gain an awareness of the events that could trigger you and begin to understand what to limit or avoid.

A Quick Review

Migraines are intense headaches that can stop you in your tracks, often accompanied by brain fog and nausea. Stress, hormones, sleep, and fragrances or sounds can all trigger migraines. Identifying what triggers your migraines can help you prevent those triggers, hopefully avoiding a migraine.

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Sources
Health.com uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Migraine Foundation. Top 10 migraine triggers and how to deal with them.

  2. National Headache Foundation. Headache diary: Keeping a diary can help your doctor help you.

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