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Okay, I have completed a Word document with the latest draft of the triggers list. 

However . .  .When I try to post it here, the formatting gets all screwy.  It would take me an hour to try to fix it, which I don't have right now.

As far as I can tell, we can't use attachments.

So I'm kind of stuck until I have enough time to deal with this.  Soon, I hope.

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Many people with CH don’t recognize all the triggers that can bring on an attack. Some participants at the ClusterBusters message board put together this list of their triggers.

Not all of these items are triggers for everyone, but we urge you to look over this list to see whether there might be something you are missing. Here are some comments that might encourage you.

“It took me a long time to make the connection that I got hit not long after eating chocolate. When I stopped, those hits went away.”

“For years I couldn’t understand why I got a headache 30 minutes after I left work regardless of what time I left. I was blaming the dusty atmosphere until I read that relaxation was a trigger. It was an epiphany!”

“My ED meds! Who knew?”

“I learned the hard way about epinephrine when used as a dental anesthetic. I thought it was the dental work itself that triggered me.”

“MSG (monosodium glutamate) is a huge trigger for me, and it is in a lot of foods, such as many soups, flavored chips, and cold cuts. Reading labels carefully has made a very big difference for me.”

If you have additional triggers to add, or comments to make, please visit the “ClusterBuster Files” message board at www.clusterbusters.org.


Atmospheric Conditions

Barometric pressure changes

High pollen counts (taking Benadryl along with the Vitamin D3 regimen can help with this one)

High temperatures


Events and Activities

Airplane travel

Dental work (When using anesthetics that are triggers. Anesthetics containing epinephrine (such as Xylocaine) and nitrous oxide have been identified by some people as triggers. Ask your dentist to use something else: Prilocaine seems not to cause bad effects.)


Foods and Beverages

Alcoholic drinks

Aspartame (artificial sweetener)

BBQ Sauce

Caffeine at the wrong time [“My belief that the body maintains stasis when ‘insulted’ continuously....so best to withhold caffeine until needed for maximum effect.”]

Cheeses that are fermented [“Bleu, brie, American, Swiss etc.”]


Flour, bleached white (white bread, cake etc.)

Histamines [“Most of the food items on this list release histamine in your body. A low-histamine diet helped me a lot!”]

MSG (monosodium glutamate, a food additive found in many products—see additional information at the end of this list)

Nitrates and nitrites (often added to processed meats, such as bacon, hot dogs, jerky, and luncheon meats)


Sugar: high-sugar foods



Altitude: high-altitude locations; travel from high altitude locations to lower ones and from lower ones to higher ones


Medical conditions

Illness [“Any time I get sick I get hits.”]

Low blood sugar


Medications and Supplements


Amyl nitrate (used medically to treat heart diseases such as angina, and also used as an inhalant drug, often called a “popper,” that induces a brief euphoric state)

Epinephrine (anesthetic used often in dental work; see discussion under “Events and Activities”)

Erectile dysfunction medications (Viagra, Cialis)



Nitrous oxide [“Dental anesthesia...never experienced personally...but an enlightened anesthesiologist I met told me”]



Burning leaves






Welding fumes (zinc welding fumes was an INSTANT hit for me)


Personal Habits and Activities

Changes in routines (eating, sleeping, exercise, etc.)

Gum chewing, or excessive jaw movements

Strenuous exercise


Sleep, Rest, and Relaxation

Baths [“Showers have never triggered a cluster for me. It’s about the relaxation.”]

Irregular sleep schedule [“Any change in sleep patterns, especially if I am startled awake.”]


Relaxing [“For years I couldn’t understand why I got a headache 30 minutes after I left work regardless of what time I left. I was blaming the dusty atmosphere until I read that relaxation was a trigger. It was an epiphany!”]

Stress and post-stress [“Coming home from work, finishing a stressful project.”]

Taking a bath


Additional Information About MSG (Monosodium Glutamate)

Many people with CH experience MSG as a trigger. As noted above, MSG appears in many prepared foods, which can include broths and soups, flavored chips, cold cuts, frozen dinners, and ranch dressing. It is a standard ingredient in Chinese restaurant food, but other restaurants may use it, too. You might want to ask and to order food without MSG if it’s a trigger for you.

One person provided the following information:

“MSG hides in our food supply under many guises. I’d add a caution to research glutamic acid content of foods...same action in the body as MSG. Examples of higher levels include anchovies, tomatoes and mushrooms........

Other Names for MSG: The A to Z Guide:

Accent (food additive)
Autolyzed Plant Protein
Autolyzed Yeast
Calcium Caseinate
Citric Acid (when processed from corn)
Glutamic Acid
Hydrolized Plant Protein (HPP)
Hydrolized Vegetable Protein (HVP)
Monopotassium Glutamate
Monosodium Glutamate
Natural Flavoring
Natural Meat Tenderizer
Sodium Caseinate
Senomyx (wheat extract labeled as artificial flavor)
Textured Protein
Yeast Food or Nutrient
Yeast Extract    ”

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Thanks, J!!!

There are a couple of headings that you might have missed (or you might have decided that they fit under the other heading). So, I had a separate heading for Sleep, Rest, and Relaxation (coming after Personal Habits and Activities); and I had a separate heading for Medications and Supplements (coming after Medical Conditions). The headings are still there, they're just not formatted like the other headings. 

At the beginning, the last quote (about MSG) should be aligned with the quotes before it.

Thanks again!  I'll look forward to comments about this so we can finalize it.

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Thanks again. 

Two very small things: (1) I notice that I made a typo in a quote that's repeated twice, once in the quotes at the top and once under "Sleep, Rest, and Relaxation."  The quote is “For years I couldn’t understand why I got a headache 30 minutes after I left work regardless of what time I left, I was blaming the dusty atmosphere until I read that relaxation was a trigger. It was an epiphany!† Should be a period, not a comma, after the word left. (2) I wonder if it would read better if the headings were at the left?

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