Reasons Why Weather Changes Trigger Migraines
High humidity and dry conditions
Summer makes dehydration much worse. The Michigan Headache and Neurological Institute explaines that when the body loses a lot of water and sodium due to sweating, migraines can ensue.
Sunlight and bright lights activate photosensitivity, the increased sensitivity to lights. This can lead to migraines. It is often experienced by those who suffer from migraines with an aura.
A study found that even a small decrease in barometric pressure can trigger a headache, the main symptom of migraines. Fluctuations in barometric pressure may affect the pressure in the brain or how the brain blocks pain signals.
Does The Barometric Pressure Affect Arthritis
Changes in barometric pressure can cause expansion and contraction of tendons, muscles, bones and scar tissues, resulting in pain in the tissues that are affected by arthritis. Low temperatures may also increase the thickness of joint fluids, making them stiffer and perhaps more sensitive to pain during movement.
Is It A Weather Pressure Headache Signs And Symptoms
First: You should see a doctor if youâre concerned about your headaches, regardless of the cause.
But without some data collection, a doctor wonât be able to tell you definitively that your headaches are caused by the weather. This is because some people who experience barometric pressure headaches notice their symptoms before the weather changes, and the correlation may be difficult to pin down.
A barometric pressure headache can look like a migraine headache, which is associated with the following symptoms:
- A headache that lasts between four hours and three days
- Sensitivity to light
- Food cravings, which can worsen symptoms
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The Proof Barometric Pressure Changes Cause Migraines
A study was done in Japan that observed the sale of a popular headache remedy called loxoprofen. Researchers saw a correlation between an increase in the sale of this medicine and changes in barometric pressure. This led to the conclusion that barometric pressure does indeed cause an increase in the incidence of migraines.
Interestingly, the change does not have to be dramatic to cause migraines. In 2015, researchers looked at how barometric pressure affected people with chronic migraines . Even a small decrease in barometric pressure was noted to induce migraines.
In another study from Japan, 28 people with a history of migraines were asked to keep a headache journal for a year. Migraines occurred more often on days when the barometric pressure was lowered by 5 hectopascals than the day before. The opposite was also true. Migraine frequency dropped on days when the barometric pressure reached 5 hPa or higher the previous day.
When To See Your Doctor
Usually, headaches arent serious and you can often treat them yourself. But sometimes, they can signal a more serious problem.
- The pain feels like the worst headache of your life.
- Youve had a change in the pattern of your headaches.
- Headaches wake you up at night.
- The headache started after a blow to the head.
You should also see your doctor if youre experiencing any of these symptoms alongside your headache:
You can book a primary care doctor in your area using our Healthline FindCare tool.
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Taking Preventative Steps For Weather Headaches
It is important for you to be aware of your headache patterns. The sooner you recognize when and in relation to what you have headaches, then you can work to prevent them. You may notice some symptoms come on before a migraine actually hits. This can alert you to what is about to happen. You may notice ringing in your ears, visual disturbances, or nausea.
You may want to try the following suggestions for overall health and to help migraines.
- Eat regular, healthy meals and do not skip meals .
- Drink at least 8 glasses of water each day.
- Try to manage your stress and use breathing exercises or other relaxation techniques.
- Exercise most days of the week.
- Get between 7 and 8 hours of rest per night.
Since its impossible to control the weather, you may be able to, in part, control your migraines by practicing daily routines that are good for your health. This can reduce the impact of migraines on your daily life.
Barometric Pressure And Headaches
While researchers have yet to prove a definitive link between headaches or migraines and weather, according to the American Migraine Foundation, more than a third of the people with headaches claim that the weather patterns play a huge part in triggering their migraines.
In fact, several studies have found convincing evidence that weather, and changes in pressure, in particular, increase the likelihood of migraines and headaches occurring. Whats more, a 2017 study even helped demonstrate a positive association between the barometric pressure and the amount of headache pain that a person experiences.
If you ever had a severe headache before, you probably already know just how debilitating the pain it causes can be. Everything could be much simpler if we could find a way of knowing when the next one is coming so that you can make plans or prepare for it. In the case of migraines caused by the barometric changes, that could, in fact, be possible.
If it seems that your headaches occur during or after sudden and apparent changes in the weather, you should start paying closer attention. You dont need to have the latest barometer to sense the change in atmospheric pressure.
Any weather change almost inevitably causes some sort of variation in barometric pressure. This is why headaches or migraines that are caused or affected by changes in the weather are often called pressure or barometric migraines.
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How To Relieve Sinus & Nasal Pain Caused By Barometric Pressure
Barometric pressure–the weight of atmospheric air pressing on a geographic area–changes continuously, accompanying local weather shifts. If you have preexisting sinus diseases or migraine headaches, barometric pressure changes can trigger agonizing sinus and nasal pain 6. You can take steps to relieve the pain and determine what is causing your sinuses’ reaction to barometric pressure changes.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Keep a diary of sinus pain attacks, listing the dates and symptoms, so that you will have a record for your doctors. Write down the weather conditions on those days, including the barometric pressure 2. Ask your relatives if any type of sinus headaches runs in your family 6.
Consult an allergist and an ear, nose and throat specialist to find out if other medical problems are making your sinuses reactive to barometric pressure, as recommended by MedlinePlus, a service of the National Institutes of Health 1.Once these problems are healed or stabilized, your sinus attacks may disappear through treatments such as antibiotics, nasal allergy sprays or surgery.
Ways To Weather Barometric Pressure Migraines
When I was a child, I can remember my grandmother saying she knew when a storm was coming because her arthritis would always start hurting. Fast-forward 30 years, and here I am, a 40-year-old woman who can tell if a change in the weather is going to occur within 300 miles of wherever I am located. I havent always been affected by barometric pressure changes. Growing up in the southeast of the United States, its common to have very crazy weather patterns. It hadnt been until my husband and I moved from Oregon to North Carolina that I noticed a major difference in my migraine attacks in correlation to drastic increases or decreases in the barometric pressure.
Barometric pressure can be simply defined as the air pressure within the atmosphere. A sharp change in this pressure can exacerbate some conditions, with headaches or migraine attacks being one of them. According to a NY Times article, which interviewed Dr. Matthew Fink of New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center:
Differences in air pressure because of the weather or changes in altitude can have noticeable effects on the human body, though some people are more sensitive than others. Low barometric pressure can cause headaches by creating a pressure difference between the surrounding atmosphere and the sinuses, which are filled with air.
1. Download a barometric pressure app on your phone.
2. Try barometric pressure earplugs.
3. Try to stay as hydrated as possible.
4. Take your abortive meds.
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Medications And Medication Overuse
Excessive use of medication to treat headaches can actually cause headaches. This is the most common secondary headache disorder, and it affects up to of the population. Medication overuse headaches tend to be worst upon awakening.
Common causes of medication overuse headaches include:
- Simple analgesics. OTC medications like acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can cause medication overuse headaches when taken 15 or more days per month.
- Combination pain relievers. Some OTC pain relievers contain a combination of drugs, such as aspirin and caffeine. These can cause headaches when taken 10 or more days per month.
- Triptans, ergotamines, and opioids. These categories of migraine drugs can cause headaches when used 10 or more days per month.
- Caffeine. More than 200 milligrams of caffeine per day can also cause headaches.
Prolonged use of these medications in elevated quantities to structural and functional changes to the brain, leading to headaches. Most people can expect to recover from these changes after discontinuing the use of these drugs.
How Weather May Trigger Headaches
For most of us, a day of thunderstorms on a summer Saturday means staying inside with a cup of tea and a good movie. For others, though, a thunderstorm may be a brutal trigger for a headache.
Let’s read about the science behind how a thunderstorm and other weather-related changes may precipitate head pain.
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Weather Changes Can Affect Migraine Symptoms A New Article In Medical News Today Cites Amf In A Discussion Of Barometric Pressure Headaches And Migraine
Medical News Today delved into barometric pressure headaches and migraine in their latest article, which cites AMF data. For more information on barometric pressures effect on migraine, watch this recent with Dr. Cynthia Armand, M.D., hosted by AMF. Learn more about causes, preventative techniques and treatment options here.
Reviewed for accuracy by the American Migraine Foundations subject matter experts, headache specialists and medical advisers with deep knowledge and training in headache medicine. to read about our editorial board members.
A Combination Of Factors
It’s important to note that while there seems to be a link between migraines, barometric pressure and sunlight, scientists still haven’t found an indisputable correlate when it comes to weather, Dr. Klenofsky says.
“If you ask patients, they can have just as many headaches on bad-weather days as they do good-weather days,” Dr. Klenofsky says. And this is reflected in the research: For example, studies find that people report migraines during both low- and high-barometric-pressure days , she says.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean there isn’t a real connection between migraine headaches and weather, Dr. Klenofsky adds. Rather, it may indicate that migraines can be multifactorial. In other words, a variety of weather variables and triggers can produce migraines, and these factors differ from one person to another.
“We, as a scientific community, have yet to identify a concrete mechanism of migraine,” Dr. Klenofsky says. “It may be that a lot of the brain and what it does continues to elude us, but it also very well may be that migraine can occur from a multitude of mechanisms.”
Still not sure about the source of your headaches? Work with your doctor to try to determine the root cause or causes.
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How Your Doctor Will Diagnose Your Headache
Make an appointment to see your doctor if you have new headaches or your headaches have become more severe. Your doctor may send you to a headache specialist called a neurologist.
Your doctor will do a physical exam. Youll be asked about your medical history and what symptoms youre having.
They might ask you questions like these:
- When did the headaches start?
- What does the pain feel like?
- What other symptoms do you have?
- How often do you get headaches?
- What seems to trigger them?
- What makes the headaches better? What makes them worse?
- Is there a family history of headaches?
Your doctor may be able to diagnose your headache based on symptoms alone. But if they arent sure about whats causing your headaches, they may recommend one of these imaging tests:
A CT scan uses a series of X-rays to create cross-sectional pictures of your brain. It can diagnose bleeding in your brain and certain other abnormalities.
A MRI uses powerful magnets and radio waves to create detailed pictures of your brain and its blood vessels. It provides a more detailed brain image than a CT scan. It can help diagnose strokes, bleeding in the brain, tumors, structural problems, and infections.
Is Magnesium Good For Headaches
Research on magnesium has found it to be a potentially well-tolerated, safe and inexpensive option for migraine prevention, while it may also be effective as an acute treatment option for headaches including migraines, tension- type headaches and cluster headaches, particularly in certain patient subsets.
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How Often To Get Botox For Migraine Prevention
If you undergo Botox treatments for migraine, your doctor will typically administer them once every 3 months. Getting Botox injections more frequently isnt well studied so the risks are currently unknown.
After treatment, some people may improve significantly and are able to discontinue treatment without relapse. Depending on your response to Botox, your doctor will recommend a length of time for your treatment plan.
Weather As A Headache Trigger
It’s fairly common for a person with headaches or migraines to subjectively report weather as a trigger for their attacks. While some people cite simply a “change in weather” as their trigger, and others can pin down more specific weather changes like high or low temperatures, humidity, sunlight, wind speed, and dew point.
For example, one study in Cephalalgia examined over 1200 participants with migraines. Weather was identified as the fourth most frequent migraine trigger, occurring in approximately 50 percent of the participants.
In another study, in The Journal of Headache and Pain, of 120 people with either migraines or tension-type headaches, the weather was described as the most common trigger.
Despite these subjective reports, however, studies on the effects of weather on headaches and migraines reveal inconsistent results. This means that in some studies, certain weather changes were linked with whether a migraine or a headache occurred and/or persisted, and in other studies, there was no significant link found.
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Migraines Hurricanes And Shifts In Barometric Pressure
For some, changes in the weather bring welcome relief, but for those who experience migraine headaches, the fluctuations can be another trigger for this often debilitating neurological condition. Weather changes can be a particular problem during hurricane season.
As many as half of those who suffer from migraines report that weather is a factor. Many weather conditions can cause migraines precipitation, humidity, lightning, wind and barometric pressure.
Barometric pressure, also known as atmospheric pressure, measures the force of air exerted on a surface. This pressure changes as different air masses or fronts move through. Changes in barometric pressure can happen with temperature changes, wind, precipitation and cloud cover.
When the air pressure changes, it creates a difference in pressure between the air surrounding you and the air in your sinus cavities, says Kamel Ben-Othman, M.D., a neurologist with Riverside Neurology and Sleep Specialists. This is similar to what happens when you fly in an airplane, and your ear hurts from changes in altitude.
According to the American Migraine Foundation, one Japanese study looked at the effects a typhoon, another term for a hurricane, and falling barometric pressure had on headaches. Researchers discovered that 75% of people prone to migraines had a migraine attack during these weather shifts. Only 20% of people who experience tension headaches experienced a migraine attack.
How Upper Cervical Chiropractors Can Resolve Migraines
While taking note of and avoiding your triggers can save you from a migraine attack, applying a method to address the root cause of your migraine can give you a lasting solution.
A study observed 101 migraine patients. All of the patients had a misalignment in the bones of their upper cervical spine, particularly in the C1 or C2 vertebra. Out of the 101, 87 patients recounted having trauma to their neck or head before the onset of their migraines. They all received adjustments from an upper cervical chiropractor. About 97 of them saw improvement in their migraine symptoms, while 85 said their migraines disappeared completely.
Here at Tranquility Spinal Care in Wapakoneta, Ohio, we employ a gentle technique to encourage misaligned bones to return into place naturally, rather than using force. This stops any undue pressure given to the brainstem because of the misalignment, allowing blood flow to reach the brain properly. Many times, this simple adjustment is just what is needed to put an end to migraines, regardless of any weather conditions.
To schedule a consultation, call our Wapakoneta office at . You can also click the button below.
If you are outside of the local area, you can find an Upper Cervical Doctor near you at www.uppercervicalawareness.com.
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Can High Pressure Weather Cause Headaches
Bad weather If youre prone to getting headaches, you could find that grey skies, high humidity, rising temperatures and storms can all bring on head pain. Pressure changes that cause weather changes are thought to trigger chemical and electrical changes in the brain. This irritates nerves, leading to a headache.
Weather And Other Migraine Triggers
In a survey by the National Headache Foundation, 3 out of every 4 people said weather triggered their headache pain.
The people who took the survey ranked 16 possible headache triggers and described which ones seemed to bring on their migraines and other headaches. Here are some environment-related triggers that the survey included, along with the percentage of people who said they felt affected by them:
- Weather or barometric pressure changes: 73%
- Intense odors: 64%
- Extreme heat or cold: 38%
- Altitude changes: 31%
- High winds: 18%
Most of the participants said these triggers kept them from doing their normal outdoor activities. They also said they’d stayed away from places that could have smoke in the air, like restaurants or bars.
The survey found that 2 out of 3 people hadn’t discussed environmental triggers with their doctors. Still, some experts think people link their headaches to weather more than they should. That opinion is based on a 2004 study that analyzed patients’ perceived headache patterns with actual National Weather Service data.
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