A study published in the Journal of Headache and Pain found that smoking 5 or more cigarettes a day can trigger migraines and that in general smokers have more migraines than non-smokers.

The research involved 300 medical students who were well trained in being able to identify a migraine from another type of headache. According to Dr. Pascual, the lead researcher in the study, “smoking is a precipitating factor of this type of headache, as the prevalence of active smokers is one third higher in migraine sufferers and there is a direct relationship between the number of cigarettes consumed and the frequency of migraine attacks”.

Though there is no proven mechanism for why smoking increases the frequency of migraines, it is possible that smoking generates excessive amounts of free radicals, causing substantial oxidative stress, which is known to contribute to inflammation, which may then affect the nerves.

So, if you both smoke and suffer from migraines, try to keep your number of daily cigarettes below 5.


Curt Hendrix M.S., C.C.N., C.N.S.

 

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