The 5 Drivers of Migraines: Psychological Stress

Do you suffer from headaches or migraines that persist despite your best efforts? If so, you know how terrible and frustrating they can be. But stress may be a significant factor in the development of migraines. Psychological stress can trigger migraines, making them more severe and frequent.


What Is Psychological Stress?


This arises from a psychological or emotional source rather than a physical one. It is a response to challenging circumstances you perceive as threatening or overwhelming. These situations can include:


  • Stress at work

  • Marital issues

  • Money problems

  • Traumatic experiences


The Link Between Psychological Stress and Migraines


Stress is one of the many variables that can cause migraines. Stress triggers cortisol and adrenaline release. These hormones can cause body-wide discomfort and inflammation. Stress can induce sensitization which makes the brain more excitable. This increase in perception leads to an increase in light sensitivity and sound sensitivity. Stress can affect the levels of the neurotransmitter's serotonin and dopamine. These are crucial for controlling pain and mood. Headaches and migraines may result from an unbalanced level of these neurotransmitters and or hormones. Stress can also cause mental and emotional symptoms like anxiety and despair. These may also cause the development of migraines.


Tips for Managing Psychological Stress


Managing psychological stress is an integral part of preventing migraines. Consider the following tips:


Seek Chiropractic Care

Chiropractors manipulate the joints and spine to enhance general health and treat pain. Neck and upper back tightness that can cause migraines will lessen with chiropractic adjustments. Getting adjusted can improve circulation and body-wide inflammation reduction. Also, an adjustment to the neck can treat migraines by resetting the nerves responsible for migraines. Additionally, chiropractic has been shown to improve stress levels. All of these are reasons chiropractic care along with other therapies can help prevent migraines from occurring.


Practice Relaxation Techniques


Several techniques can help lower stress and encourage relaxation. These include:


  • Deep breathing

  • Gradual muscular relaxation

  • Mindfulness meditation


Additionally, these techniques can lessen the severity and frequency of migraines. Incorporate them into your routine if you feel anxious or overburdened. It may take time for these approaches to work, so stick it out. If you need help, find apps like Headspace, Calm, or Insight timer.




An excellent technique to lower tension and encourage relaxation is regular exercise. Endorphins are natural painkillers released during exercise. They can help lessen migraine pain. Exercise can also help you sleep better, feel better, and fight sadness and anxiety.


Get Enough Sleep


Enough sleep is crucial for lowering stress and avoiding migraines. Stick to a sleep schedule and develop a relaxing bedtime routine to unwind before sleep.


Eat a Healthy Diet


A balanced diet of whole grains, fresh produce, and fiber can help reduce stress. When you need a pick-me-up, avoid skipping meals. Instead, choose nutritious snacks like almonds and seeds. Avoid trigger foods, like caffeine and alcohol, which can worsen migraines.


Seek Support

If your stress level is too high, do not be afraid to ask for help. Talking about your stress can help you process your feelings. This will help you develop coping strategies. Join a support group or seek counseling if you need more support.



Psychological stress is a significant cause of migraines. It can increase their frequency and severity. Various strategies can help control stress and lower your chances of migraines. It would help to recognize the stressors in your life and reduce or avoid them.


Moreover, managing psychological stress is essential for improving general health and well-being. You can manage your migraines and lessen their impact by prioritizing stress management.

For more on psychological stress as a driver of migraines, contact Calibration Chiropractic + Functional Health at our Mansfield, Texas, office. Call (817) 779-3435 to schedule an appointment today.

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