Identifying triggers that can lead to migraines and onto a full fibromyalgia flare attack is an essential part of fibromyalgia symptom management. There are a wide range of triggers — some avoidable, some not — and these can vary greatly from person to person. Contributing factors can be low blood sugar either from skipping meals or lack of food, a lack of sleep, exposure to bright lights, anxiety and stress. Even hormones contribute and play a role.
Once they are identified, it’s possible to reduce the frequency of migraines and other attacks by avoiding those triggers. One of the biggest triggers that can be identified — next to stress — is food.
There are a huge number of foods that trigger migraine attacks and fibromyalgia flares in many people. If you suffer from frequent migraines and fibromyalgia flares that are caused by your diet, the solution is fairly simple but requires some will power. First, educate yourself. Find out what foods are likely to trigger your migraines and lead to flare ups. While some foods are easy to identify, others require you to read the ingredients label and become a food sleuth or food detective of sorts to help you with spotting exactly what your particular triggers are.
Foods that most commonly lead to migraines and fibromyalgia flares come mainly from those that are the most processed, are genetically modified, nutrient depleted, and pesticide laden. Knowing this will help you to quickly identify and eliminate these foods from your diet and improve matters substantially for you by helping to alleviate, if not eliminate completely, many of your symptoms, or at least the triggers that can lead to them.
Here is a list of some of the most common food offenders that trigger migraines and can lead to fibromyalgia flares. Foods containing certain chemicals known as “amines”, such as tyramine, phenylethylamine, and histamine, are often the culprits. Here is where they will be found:
Tyramine is found in higher concentrations in foods that have been fermented, such as:
• Soy sauce, miso, tempeh
• Aged or blue cheeses
• Red wine or beer
• Smoked, cured, or pickled meat or fish
Phenylethylamine is found in these foods:
• Red wine
• Citrus fruit
• Yellow cheeses
• Canned fruits
Histamine containing foods include:
• Wine, beer
• Tomato, tomato sauce, tomato paste
• Beef, pork
• Fish, shellfish
• Cheese, especially yellow ripened
• Processed meat, such as salami
• Citrus fruit
• Yeast containing foods
• Tofu, miso, tempeh, tamari
• Chicken liver
Foods containing glutamates are another huge offender behind migraines and fibromyalgia flares. There are several different glutamates and they have become common in many foods. The worst offender is monosodium glutamate, or MSG. MSG is found in many different foods, such as snack foods like corn and potato chips, pretzels, frozen foods, and especially found in Chinese food. There are other glutamates which includes the artificial sweetener Aspartame, yeast extract, and hydrolyzed soy or corn protein. Keep a food journal and note when your migraines or fibromyalgia flares occur.
This will allow you to take a more detached look at your symptoms and expand your awareness about when they occur the most or if there is a distinct pattern to what triggers them. Next, you will want to eliminate any possible triggers from your diet completely, at least for a couple of weeks. Start with the worst offenders first, which may be different for each person, but often it’s those ‘foods’ containing the highest amounts or combinations of chemicals in them at once. Often, you will have to read labels to figure this out. You may even consider not buying or eating anything that contains a label while you are figuring this all out. Or, it may require switching from a food which is pesticide and chemically laden, to another more naturally or organically grown one.
The best way is to keep a record or chart of which foods are causing the most symptoms or flares for you and begin experimenting. For example, try peanuts — these contain aflotoxins which are known triggers for migraines. If they make your head hurt, then you know they trigger symptoms and put stress on your body that can lead to flare ups and possible migraines. They are best avoided in that case. It will require some will power at first but the results are worth it. Gradually, you will be less the effect of negative symptoms and be more the cause over how you feel based on what you eat. Adverse reactions will soon diminish and your quality of life will improve. Food can be your greatest ally when it comes to your health and it can also be your worst enemy. Remember, you can make a difference to the way you feel and the first step is awareness. Fibromyalgia wellness and reduction of symptoms begins with you.
How Chiropractic Helps
Pain can be experienced in the body and joints as the result of prolonged immobilisation, stress or the result of surgery. Chiropractic can assist with releasing this pain and giving the body the opportunity to heal itself, however be sure to tell your Chiropractor about your specific health conditions prior to the treatment.