Halloween Headaches: More Tricks than Treats?

October 8, 2015

Halloween Jack O'Lantern

Soon it will be time for the little goblins and ghouls to flood the sidewalks and malls in search of candy. But the costumes aren’t the only scares out there on Halloween. There are several different kinds of potential migraine triggers lurking in all the fun to trick the unwary. Fortunately, there are a few treats to be found as well.

What’s in the Way?

Halloween costumes for both children and adults have become increasingly elaborate. All those high heels and flowing skirts and masks mean both a lack of stability and reduced vision. Couple that with dark, uneven sidewalks and it creates a recipe for falls or sudden, jarring movements — either of which could trigger a migraine.

Then there’s the creepy smoke. It’s great for atmosphere, but not always for clear lines of sight. Another stumble hazard? Absolutely. Some migraineurs also find the chemical fog itself, usually made with water and glycol, can start that familiar pain, visual distortion, or nausea.

On top of these literal stumbling blocks, there’s plenty of liquor at your average adult Halloween party. Not only can alcohol make people unsteady, it contains tyramine, something migraine sufferers should avoid when they can.

What’s on the Menu?

Tyramine is also found in chocolate, some nuts, and most cheeses, meaning that Halloween snacking can be a problem for chronic migraine sufferers. Many migraine patients also find they need to avoid sausages and other aged or smoked meats, bananas, and even avocados — which means that tempting guacamole might be off limits.

If the company Halloween party is at a sushi restaurant, be careful there, too. Anything fermented, like soy sauce or miso soup, contains lots of tyramine. Edamame is another culprit, along with kimchi and snow peas.

What Can Help?

Not all Halloween goodies need to be avoided. Many migraine patients find peppermint helps soothe the pain, so mints might be a safe treat. Dried cherries, cranberries, and prunes are on the list of pain-safe foods from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Candied ginger also has a safe reputation among migraine sufferers. While none of these is guaranteed, this short list is a place to start.

But if you’re ready to stop dealing with migraine tricks altogether and get the treat of relief, call us today at 855.300.6822 and speak with one of our patient coordinators. Act now, before your annual benefits expire, and next year’s Halloween could be worry-free.

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