Thursday, June 16, 2022
HomeHealthDoes Barometric Pressure Affect Migraines

Does Barometric Pressure Affect Migraines

A Combination Of Factors

Barometric Pressure Headache Helper

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.

When To Expect A Barometric Pressure Migraine

Studies show that approximately 12 percent of the population suffers from migraine headaches, and weather conditions are one of the top three most common triggers. Patients with barometric sensitivity report that the pain often begins well ahead of the changing weather patterns. This means you could develop a headache when the weather seems perfect, and only discover the reason a day or two later when the clouds finally move in.

What Barometric Pressure Causes Migraines

Migraine frequency rose on days when the barometric pressure was 5 hectopascals lower than the day before. Migraine frequency was also reduced when the barometric pressure was 5 hPa or greater than the previous day. This indicates that low barometric pressures may be a cause of migraine.

The link between barometric pressure and migraine has been known for more than 100 years. In 1872, Dr. John Elliotson reported that barometric pressure changes were associated with changes in the frequency of migraine headaches. Since then, other studies have confirmed this relationship between low barometric pressures and increased migraine headache frequency.

How does barometric pressure affect migraine headaches? Pressure changes caused by clouds passing over the earth’s surface alter the density of air near the ground. As the density of the surrounding air decreases, it becomes less dense than the atmosphere so it rises to replace it. This is why clouds usually lead to rain or snow – the cloud passes across a region where there is water vapor in the atmosphere, and this vapor absorbs some of the cloud’s moisture which becomes liquid as precipitation.

As the cloud moves away from the region of low pressure, it leaves behind it higher altitudes where the air is now less dense, causing more widespread effects throughout the world. For example, when a storm moves into Canada, it brings cooler temperatures with it.

Recommended Reading: Migraine Medicine Without Caffeine

The Difference Between Headaches And Migraines

People often tend to lump headaches and migraines into the same bucket, says headache specialist Jennifer Kriegler, MD. Many think migraines are just really bad headaches, which is not altogether true, she says. Headaches and migraines can have different causes.

Headaches of any level of pain can be symptoms of a migraine attack, but a migraine is actually a neurological disease or brain imbalance that causes a lot of other symptoms in addition to headaches.

These include sensitivity to light, nausea and vomiting, stomach upset, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, dizziness, blurred vision, numbness, tingling or weakness in rare cases.

Migraine episodes result from different signals interacting with your brain, blood vessels and surrounding nerves which cause any of the symptoms above. During a migraine headache in particular, specific nerves of the blood vessels are activated and send pain signals to the brain.

Finding A Climate That Works For Me And My Psa

Barometric Pressure Headache Causes and Cures

I returned to Arizona. This is the state that everyone says is the best for a person with arthritis. And it was, for a moment. We moved back in the spring when the weather was warm and calm. I felt human again and had hope of not losing so much time to weather-related pain.

Then came Arizonas famous summer monsoon storms. The combination of extreme heat with high humidity, hurricane-strength winds, and rain kicked my rear. Unable to function, I would spend most of my summer inside writhing in pain. Even though Arizona offered a drier climate, the severity of change when storm fronts moved in was more than my body could tolerate.

Moving to Southern California a decade ago was a welcome change. There is always a breeze. Living an hour inland from the coast has its perks. Morning marine layers that take hours for the sun to burn off keep temperatures cooler. Instead of only having a few good weeks, I only suffer from a significant pressure flare for a few weeks per year.

Don’t Miss: Hemiplegic Migraine Mayo

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.

Do Changes In Weather Really Cause Pain

Barometric pressure does not directly affect people, but it can influence their health indirectly, for example by changing how they feel pain. There are many studies about how high or low barometric pressure influences peoples health and pain sensitivity.

Researchers have found that high barometric pressure can make people more sensitive to pain while low barometric pressures make them less sensitive to it. So, changes in barometric pressure doesnt necessarily cause pain, but it does influence how our minds react to it.

Barometric pressure can also affect some peoples moods, by impacting our sensitivity to pain. There have been many studies done to try to figure out this phenomenon and help those who are affected by changes in atmospheric pressure.

Some findings:

Frequent exposure to barometric pressure changes can increase or decrease the risk of developing arthritis in some people.

Inflammation markers in some people are impacted by changes in barometric pressure. Inflammation is a main cause of arthritis and other musculoskeletal and joint pain.

Patients with rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis may be at an increased risk of developing symptoms when there is a change in barometric pressure and cold weather is also present.

You May Like: Migraine Chills

How Might Weather Cause Pain

Its typical for joint pain to start even before the first raindrops fall, says David Borenstein, MD, FACP, FACR, a rheumatologist and clinical professor of medicine at George Washington University Medical Center and past president of the American College of Rheumatology.

If you really listened carefully to Grandma or someone who had arthritis, they actually told you it was going to rain, he says. They said, Its going to rain today, and more likely than not, they were usually correct.

How to explain?

Theres no full agreement among scientists that weather causes pain, or if a specific mechanism is at fault, Jamison says. But there are plausible theories.

One leading theory points to changes in air pressure. Although many people say that their pain worsens with damp, rainy weather, research has shown that its not the cold, wind, rain, or snow, Borenstein says. The thing that affects people most is barometric pressure.

Barometric pressure is the weight of the atmosphere that surrounds us.

If you imagine the tissues surrounding the joints to be like a balloon, high barometric pressure that pushes against the body from the outside will keep tissues from expanding.

But barometric pressure often drops before bad weather sets in. This lower air pressure pushes less against the body, allowing tissues to expand and those expanded tissues can put pressure on the joint. Its very microscopic and we can hardly notice, except that we have these sensations, Jamison says.

Does Bad Weather Really Affect Joint Pain

Link Between Weather and Health

The answer to this question depends a lot upon who you ask. If you ask certain researchers, theyll tell you theyve found no evidence of joint pain getting worse with rain or other weather changes. Still other researchers have found that every 10-degree drop in temperature corresponded to a rise in arthritis painas did a drop in barometric pressure.

In our experience, the patient knows best whether or not weather affects their joint pain, and the vast majority of them say it does. Patients with arthritis, bursitis, osteoarthritis, and other joint pain disorders report that their pain worsens when the weather takes a turn. What could explain this?

Possible explanations for pain affected by weather changes.

There are no research studies that have proven a definite cause-effect relationship between weather and increased joint or body pain. Still there are several theories, one being that people with arthritis may be more sensitive to changes in the barometric pressure. This could be caused by the fact that cartilage which usually cushions the bones in a joint becomes worn away, exposing nerves that are sensitive to changes in barometric pressure.

Another theory posits that barometric pressure might make tendons, muscles and scar tissue expand and contract, causing pain in joint that are afflicted with arthritis. Lower barometric pressure can also thicken the fluid inside joints, making them feel stiffer when they are moved.

So what can you do about bad-weather pain?

You May Like: A Lot Of Headaches During Pregnancy

Researchers Are Studying The Correlation Between Migraine And Weather

Several studies attempting to find a scientific correlation between weather and migraines have yielded conflicting results. There are several challenges that may cause these contradictory results and affect researchers abilities to establish a correlation.For example, many people with migraine have several triggers that could potentially affect them at the same time, so it is difficult for researchers to single out the weather as the single cause of someones migraine symptoms. In addition, the definition and description of weather changes can be different for each person, and some people may be more sensitive than others are to weather-related changes.

Treatment Options For Weather Change Headaches

If your headaches are manageable, over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen may be your best bet. You may want to try a mix of aspirin, acetaminophen, and caffeine, which is found in Excedrin â but speak with your doctor first before taking any medication on a regular basis.

But if your headaches are affecting your quality of life, your doctor will be able to prescribe migraine medication, usually triptans, to help with severe symptoms.

Also Check: Can You Take Excedrin With Naproxen

Headaches And Migraine Attacks

“What we found in our studies was the environment is probably one of the most important triggers for migraine attacks, ” said Dr. Vince Martin, director of the Headache and Facial Pain Center at the University of Cincinnati Gardner Neuroscience Institute, during the 2019 Migraine World Summit.

Dr. Martin is one of the leading world experts in migraine triggers like low barometric pressure, stress, neck pain, and food. He presented the latest research at the 2019 American Headache Society conference to over 1300 doctors and headache experts.

“About 30 to 50% of all Migraine patients think they have a weather trigger, but I would argue that because of the multitude of triggers with weather that many people may not even recognize they have a weather trigger.”

Normal barometric pressure changes are one of the most commonly reported weather-related Migraine triggers. Migraine attacks are thought to be triggered by environmental or biological changes, and that includes changing atmospheric pressure.

Dr. Cynthia Armand explains, “Our head is made up of pockets of air that we call sinuses. Usually, those pockets of air are at equilibrium with the atmospheric pressure. When there’s a change in that atmospheric pressure, it creates a change in what you’re experiencing in your head and what’s going on in the air around you. That shift is a Migraine trigger.”

How Upper Cervical Chiropractors Can Resolve Migraines

Headache Due To Barometric Pressure Change

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

You May Like: Do Migraines Cause Lesions On The Brain

How Weather Brings On A Migraine Headache

Research shows that changes in weather patterns are tied to changes in barometric pressure and temperature, and in turn this can be associated with the onset of mild to severe headaches.

For some people, its a fall in barometric pressure, for others, it could be a quick rise in temperature. Either way when these pressure changes occur most commonly during a storm, a headache can be triggered, Dr. Kriegler says.

For what we consider to be the effect of weather on migraines, were most likely talking about how weather can contribute to the headache part of a migraine episode.

During a storm, cold and warm air mix to create variations in barometric pressure. This also is how wind, rain and thunderstorms are created. Barometric pressure is also known as the atmospheric pressure being applied against a given area and in this case that area is you.

Because your nasal and sinus cavities are air channels any change in that pressure, especially a fall in barometric pressure, affects those areas. This forces fluid into tissues and can cause a disruption in fluid balance.

Some researchers also think the barometric change may affect the pressure on your brain and how the way your brain blocks or doesnt block pain.

Cold Weather Leads To Muscle Tension

In addition to migraines, cold weather can lead to more muscle tension, which can worsen tension and other headaches caused by TMJ. In cold weather, your muscles get less blood supply, which can cause them to tense up, especially when they get hit by a blast of cold air. Shivering is the bodys heating strategy, but it can result in additional muscle tension. If youre wondering why older people move to warmer climates, this is why. Cold weather can cause a TMJ flare-up and arthritis flare-up which can result in TMJ headaches.

Although you cant just pack up and move every winter, you can help keep migraines from cold weather at bay by staying inside for cold weather, bundling up if you have to go outside, and/or seeking TMJ treatment from your Columbia, SC dentist.

Recommended Reading: Sumatriptan And Pregnancy

Barometric Pressure And Arthritis: Is There An Association

According to a study published in Anesthesiology News in 2005, changes in barometric pressure do influence arthritis symptoms. After studying 205 arthritis sufferers across the nation via a randomized, controlled study, they found that arthritis pain increased with decreases in temperature and with a rise in barometric pressure. Interestingly, barometric pressure goes up on dry, sunny days when you would intuitively expect arthritis sufferers to experience less pain, not more.

Why would increases in barometric pressure worsen arthritis pain? One theory is that rises in barometric pressure increase pressure in the joint spaces leading to worsening inflammation and pain.

Not all studies show an association between barometric pressure and arthritis. Some suggest that barometric pressure has little or no effect on joint symptoms in people with arthritis, but many of these studies are small and believed to be flawed, according to experts who still believe that barometric pressure plays a role in arthritis pain.

Other studies suggest that itâs actually decreases in barometric pressure that trigger arthritis pain. A drop in barometric pressure could cause tissues that are inflamed by arthritis to expand even more, thereby aggravating the pain. This would support claims by people that their arthritis symptoms worsen when itâs cold, rainy or damp outside.

You May Like: Mild Arthritic Changes

Tips To Prevent Migraines During Weather Changes

How can weather patterns trigger a headache?

Use sunglasses

As we have mentioned, the bright sunlight triggers migraines. Since you have increased sensitivity to light, always wear your sunglasses to protect your eyes and minimize your chance of a migraine attack. Use a tint referred to as FL-41.

Remain inside

Barometric pressure changes are inevitable, but you can always choose to stay indoors to avoid bright sunlight, high humidity, and excessive heat.

Drink plenty of water!

The hot weather and increased humidity increase your risk of dehydration. Drink lots of water to avoid migraines.

Be informed about weather fronts

Visit Weather.coms Aches and Pains for predictions and Migraine Forecast regularly to be educated and prepared for when migraines might occur.

Monitor for pressure

You can also check apps that help you examine barometer pressure in your location. We suggest using a weather app or digital barometer that warns you of migraine-unfriendly weather.

Buy a barometer

If you prefer an actual device, have a barometer at home or at your workplace to help you track the latest happenings in the weather world.

Shift you exercise indoors.

Exercising outdoors may not be a good idea considering the glare, heat, humidity, and risk of dehydration during summer. Instead, consider indoor swimming, tai chi, yoga, and other forms of indoor exercises.

Avoid other migraine triggers.

You May Like: Migraine And Brain Lesions


Popular Articles