Most people get occasional headaches, but regularly suffering from severe and debilitating chronic migraines is a whole other beast. More than a simple headache, chronic migraines can cause intense throbbing or pulsating sensations in one area of the head, often accompanied by nausea, vomiting and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. These attacks can cause tremendous pain for hours or even days.

Symptoms and signs of chronic migraines

Sometimes, migraines will give warning signs prior to coming on, like flashes of light, blind spots, or tingling in the arm or leg. Symptoms of chronic migraines may include:

  • Affects one side or both sides of the head
  • A pulsating, throbbing sensation
  • Moderate to severe pain
  • Pain is aggravated by physical activity

As a result, these symptoms can also cause one of the following:

  • Nausea, vomiting or both
  • Sensitivity to light and sound

Reasons why you may be getting chronic migraines


Certain ingredients in food have been shown to be the culprit for chronic migraines. Foods containing tyramine (found in red wine, aged cheeses, certain processed meats) as well as tannins (found in red wine, tea, coffee and apple juice) can be triggers. Additives like MSG, aspartame and nitrites can also cause migraines.

Estrogen fluctuations

Fluctuating levels of estrogen caused by menstruation, pregnancy, post pregnancy, menopause or oral contraceptive misuse can trigger migraines. These factors can also lower your migraine threshold, and make you susceptible to other triggers.

Weather changes

Surprisingly, weather can play a huge role in chronic migraines. Low barometric pressure, high temperatures, and high humidity levels are common culprits. Many patients will notice a pattern, and while you can’t change the weather around you, you can plan accordingly.

The letdown after a stressful week

Migraines can be triggered by the weekend or vacation “let down” when you take a break from your stressful routine. Migraines can be the result of your body’s response to the release of stress.

To learn more about how you can help to manage your chronic migraines, call the pain specialists at Cedar Rapids Pain Associates today at (319) 540-8251.