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Does Cold Weather Cause Migraines

Can Changes In Weather Really Trigger Your Migraines

Cold Weather Causes Homeowner Headaches

We often have people say they feel their migraines getting worse with changes in weather, especially during the cold and flu season when were in the onslaught of winter chills, rain, and occasionally snow. Some people will even say they can predict the weather based on their migraines, and research has shown there is something to this. There is a link between atmospheric pressure and the amount of migraine pain some people experience. Atmospheric pressure, of course, is affected by weather. In fact, pressure headaches, sinus headaches, and barometric headaches may in some cases be examples of the weather affecting your migraines.

Spring: April Showers Bring Migraine Powers

Ah spring! Warmer weather, gentle rains, flowers abound. For many people, however, oscillating temperatures, changing barometric pressure, and an increase in allergens make spring the most miserable Migraine season.

The changing barometer tends to send my body and head to pieces. Major temp changes of 20 degrees or more up to down , or down to up. – Heather W.

Major quick weather changes trigger my attacks. Also high humidity. – Jeannine S.

Too hot is much worse than too cold. The worst for me is spring and autumn with the passing high and low pressure systems. -Michael W.

When the weather changes as it so often does in Houston, Texas and the Barometer changes and drops รข it is a trigger indeed along with the heat and humidity. I rely on my Barometer app on my phone to tell me when it does drop and I can lookout for a pending attack. – Anne M.

I’m a human barometer. The cold weather doesn’t really affect me…’s the hot weather that makes it worse. – Addy


A migraine will stay as long as the leaded skies and low pressure last. No Meds will touch it. Have to wait it out which can be a week or more. Such relief when a dry blue sky day comes and the pressure changes. -Kym

What Can You Do To Prevent And Treat Weather

Although some migraine attack triggers, like red wine, can be avoidedthere is no avoiding the weather!;Although moving to another area with perhaps more stable weather can be considered, there are no guarantees that this will work as people all over the world seem to feel that some of their attacks are triggered by certain weather patterns.

What people with migraine and weather sensitivity can do is avoid or manage other triggers within their control when a weather system that they are sensitive to comes along.;For example, keep a regular sleep pattern with adequate sleep, dont skip meals, maintain good hydration, and avoid any food triggers that you can.;Importantly, manage your schedule during times when the weather may be a problem for you so that you dont get too fatigued or too stressed.

The medications used to treat weather-related migraines are the same as those used to treat other migraine headaches, with the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and the triptans being the most important medications.;If frequent migraine attacks, weather-related or otherwise, are a problem for you, then see your doctor and ask if one of the daily preventive medications might be helpful for you.

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Ways To Prevent Winter Headaches

Nov 29, 2019 | Headache Treatment

If you suffer from headaches, you know that winter migraines are no fun. If headaches are getting in the way of your holiday festivities this year, we want you to know that you dont have to settle for the suffering.;

Theres actually a reason why so many people see a spike in the frequency of their headaches during colder weather. In fact, The Journal of Headache Pain recently released a study that confirmed the correlation between the decrease in temperature and more headaches. But the good news is, there are also effective solutions for keeping those headache triggers at bay!;

How Do I Avoid Weather

Headache from cold weather: How to prevent cold weather ...

It is difficult to avoid weather as it is all around us every day. However, there are some things you can do to minimize your weather-related headaches. While one trigger alone may not do it, several triggers piling up on top of each other might cause a migraine. Avoid anything else that might make things worsefor example, stay well hydrated, manage stress well, avoid alcohol, and avoid artificial sweeteners. During the summer especially, sunlight in addition to changes in weather may be a trigger for a migraine. You cannot control the weather, but controlling your other triggers may keep the weather from giving you a migraine.

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Easing Headaches When You Have A Cold

Most headaches caused by colds will go away once you’ve recovered from the cold. In the meantime, you may get relief from over-the-counter medications or other treatments to relieve the sinus pressure.

Some people may find relief using sinus rinseswith a Neti pot or squeeze bottle. Others may take over-the-counter pain medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. NSAIDs such as ibuprofen will likely be more effective than acetaminophen because they are anti-inflammatories and help reduce swelling.;

Another option is to take an expectorant and to help the mucus drain and relieve the pressure in your sinuses. For some people, this can make a big difference with the headache as well. The decongestant helps the mucus drain and the expectorant loosens it and makes it thinner so it will drain more easily.;

Inhaling steam may help, as can putting a warm compress on your face.

Drinking a lot of fluids is essential as well. Staying hydrated and drinking even more water than you typically do will help thin the mucus so it drains out of your sinuses.;

Running a humidifierespecially when you are sleeping at nightwill help moisten your airways, thin the mucus, and allow you to breathe more easily.;

As always, if you are concerned about your headache and feel like it may not be related to your cold, contact your healthcare provider. Headaches that are extremely severe and come on suddenly can be an emergency and you should seek medical attention right away.;

Summer: Migraine In The Heat

When the temperature and humidity start to rise, so do Migraine attacks. Summer can bring big storms, too, like tornadoes, thunderstorms, or hurricanes – all of which can trigger migraines in some people, like these folks:

Dread the summer months, always makes my migraines worse, dry frosty autumn days are far more bearable. – David V.

Tornado season is killer time for me and migraines. And yes, I am a human barometer. – Toni G.

I love cutting grass, I love being out on the boat fishing. But, with the threat of migraines, I have to dress like an old woman with my big floppy hat and dark sunglasses. I don’t dare let the sun’s glare ruin my day. It is a love, hate relationship with the sun. – Sandra W

Bright, sunny, warm days…summer is my literal hell. – Amber F.

Sunny, hot weather and hot sun triggers my migraines. – Yong H.

Waiting it out is rough. My husband has learned to wait it out with me, bless his heart. It’s so isolating though because you can’t plan anything. This hurricane season is the worst since Katrina. – Kathy

Sunny, hot weather is my biggest trigger, and guess what? I live in Greece. – Clio P.

Hydrate..a lot. I do not do anything outside when the temperatures rise above a certain degree or the heat index is too high. I would love to do outdoor activities or go places, but just can’t. -Regina C.

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Many Migraine Sufferers Report Weather Changes As A Migraine Headache Trigger But Is There A Scientific Link

Many migraine sufferers have a running list of things that could potentially spark a migraine headache, with weather changes serving as one of the most commonly reported migraine triggers. In fact, one survey1 found that 43 percent of migraine patients listed weather changes as a trigger, second only to stress .

While some studies have noted an association between weather and migraine attacks, others have failed to show any link. For example, one recent study showed that, in a subset of patients, lower temperature and higher relative humidity correlated with the onset of a migraine. 2

Similarly, another study found that weather change was associated with migraine headache development in 18 of 28 patients, 14 of whom reported low barometric pressure to be a cause of headache. 3 On the other hand, in a comprehensive diary study analyzing 20,553 patient days recorded by 238 patients with migraine, the researchers were unable to show any major connection between weather conditions and migraine occurrence. 4

So what can we make of these inconclusive study findings? Does it mean that migraine suffers who believe weather may be causing their migraine attacks are mistaken? Not necessarily. Migraine triggers vary from person to person, and a single trigger wont necessarily cause a migraine every single time youre exposed to it.5 A combination of migraine triggers may be more likely to bring on an attack.6

Test Your Powers On Migraine Weather Today

Can the weather change cause headaches?

Before you get too bummed out about the weather you can’t control, consider this. It might just be a hidden superpower. In a way, those with Migraine are more in tune with their environment. Could this have actually been an evolutionary advantage?

While this is just a theory, I like the idea of being a human barometer. It makes me different, a little special, just in case the Weather Channel calls to offer me a job.

Track your Migraine attacks as you track the weather and see if it’s a trigger for you. If it is, start forecasting so you can adjust your exposure to triggers you can control.

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Allergens Carbon Monoxide And Other Triggers Of Winter Headaches; How To Prevent Them

The idea that changes in weather can trigger headaches, especially in people who are naturally more prone to migraines or cluster headaches, is well documented globally

Representational image.

There are many people who get migraines and headaches throughout the year and many who seem to get them more often during the winter months. The idea that changes in weather can trigger headaches, especially in people who are naturally more prone to migraines or cluster headaches, is well documented globally.

But the explanation of why this happens more during the winter months has to do with more than just lower temperatures, although that might seem like the most obvious cause and rightly so.

A study published in The Journal of Headache and Pain in 2015 explains that people who are sensitive to cold temperatures are more likely to report an increase in headaches in winters and that these headaches are usually mild in nature.

When theres a sudden dip in temperature between morning, afternoon and evening during winters, people with increased cold sensitivity can easily perceive it.

The discomfort it all leads to even when youre indoors can add to the incidence of headaches during this season, the study says. In summers, however, these temperature transitions throughout the day arent very severe unless you live in zones where the temperatures do change drastically between morning, noon and night.

1. Allergens

2. Wet hair, sinus and posterior eye pain

Thunderstorms As A Headache Trigger

Besides simply weather changes, you may wonder whether a thunderstorm can trigger a headache or migraine. Indeed, many of us can recall plugging along at work or in our homes on a gloomy, damp day with a nagging headache. Was it triggered by that morning thunderstorm? Many of us claim it was, and some experts agree .

During a storm, cold and warm air collide, creating an extreme difference in barometric pressure. This creates the elements of a thunderstorm, like wind and rain. The change in barometric pressure may be what triggers your headache, whether that is a migraine, tension-type headache, or a;sinus headache. That said, the idea of a storm triggering a headache is still a questionable phenomenon.

In addition, with a thunderstorm comes lightning. Sferics, which are electromagnetic impulses produced by lightning, may also trigger migraines .

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Do You Have A Migraine Season Real People From The Community Explore The Weather

Do spring storms bring you to your knees in pain? Are hot, humid days your arch-nemesis? Do you religiously check the forecast, trying to predict your likelihood of calling out sick?

For many people with Migraine, the weather impacts much more than what we’re going to wear or what route we take to work. What is happening in the sky can literally mean the difference between a productive day and a day spent curled up in the dark.

While Migraine triggers are personal and vary from person to person, certain weather patterns are among the most common triggers. And different people are affected by different weather patterns.

The winter Migraine season, with cold temps and high winds, is the worst part of the year for those triggered by barometric pressure change.

On the other hand, the summer Migraine season is prime pain time for those sensitive to heat, humidity, dehydration, sunshine, or thunderstorms.

The people around you who don’t have Migraine probably don’t fully understand why a storm or a heat wave sends you to bed in pain. Misery loves company, as they say, and you’re in good company.

We polled our Migraine Again community and received dozens of funny, heartfelt, and true comments about weather-triggered Migraine attacks from the warriors who handle them.

Did You Know That Overestimating The Weather As A Trigger Can Be Harmful

Headaches From Cold Air

If you suffer from frequent migraines, the trigger search is difficult as many factors can be observed every day. The weather does vary a lot and you have no control over it. Seeing weather changes as potential triggers that cannot be avoided can raise anxiety significantly andtrigger more migraines. Like any trigger, observe for a while, take action if feasible, but try not to engage in the vicious circle of anxiety .;


Cooke LJ, Rose MS, Becker WJ. Chinook winds and migraine headache. Neurology. 2000;54:302-7.

Kelman L. The triggers or precipitants of the acute migraine attack. Cephalalgia. 2007;27:394-402.


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Cold Weather Thunderstorms Can Trigger Asthma Attacks

For people with asthma, a variety of triggers can result in inflamed airways, provoking an asthma attack. It turns out weather is one of them.

With exercise-induced asthma, cold weather can signal trouble. “When breathing in fast, the air they exchange doesn’t have a chance to warm up,” says David Hagaman, MD, medical director at the Vanderbilt Asthma, Sinus and Allergy Program. As a result, the increased cooling of the airway triggers the airway to react by swelling.

For the many asthma patients who list pollen as a primary trigger, thunderstorms can be a real problem. A recent study in the journal Allergy described how wind in thunderstorms carries pollen grains at ground level that get into the lower part of the airway, sending high numbers of asthma patients to hospitals for the treatment of asthma attacks.

Thriving Through The Seasons

You cannot, of course, change the weather. But identifying which seasons and weather patterns are more likely to trigger attacks can help you prepare.

Being prepared means avoiding other triggers, since Migraine triggers add up, and paying extra attention to your stress level, hydration, and sleep.

It is easier to prevent an attack than it is to treat one, so doubling down on prevention during your worst Migraine season can help you suffer less.

Unfortunately, weather-triggered Migraine attacks may come no matter how diligently you prepare. You can take comfort in the fact that you are never alone in your pain or your triggers, no matter how quirky they seem to other people.

There are people all over the world who can relate to your journey and your least favorite Migraine season.

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Is It True That The Weather Can Cause A Migraine

    Some things in life are under your control, like what you wear when you know its going to rain all day. Others, like the forecast itself, arent. So, if you get migraines that seem connected to the weather, it can feel like you got seriously screwed in the health department.

    Any number of weather conditions can trigger a migraine in people who are susceptible, including bright sunlight, extreme heat or cold, sun glare, high humidity, dry air, high winds, storms, and changes in atmospheric pressure, according to the Mayo Clinic.

    Weather is a very common trigger for my patients, Kevin Weber, M.D., a neurologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, tells SELF. Amit Sachdev, M.D., an assistant professor and director of neuromuscular medicine at Michigan State University, tells SELF he sees migraine patients with a weather trigger at least several times per week.

    Whats behind this connection? And what can you do if you have weather-induced migraines? We consulted neurologists to find out.

    This health condition usually causes severe throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation, often on just one side of the head, the Mayo Clinic says. That pain can also come with a side of nausea, vomiting, extreme sensitivity to light and sound, and aura . There are even some migraines that dont cause pain and just disturb your vision or make you dizzy.


    Patients With Migraine Are Right About Their Perception Of Temperature As A Trigger: Time Series Analysis Of Headache Diary Data

    Does Cold Weather Make You Sick?

    Department of Psychiatry, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan

    Division of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan

    Center for Dynamical Biomarkers and Translational Medicine, National Central University, Chungli, Taiwan

    Division of Interdisciplinary Medicine and Biotechnology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA USA

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