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How Does Weather Affect Migraines

Weather Factors That May Affect Fibromyalgia Sufferers

Dr. Soria: Does weather affect headaches?

There are five major weather factors that appear to affect fibromyalgia symptoms. These include:

Changes in Temperature: Rapid changes in temperature can sometimes trigger a fibromyalgia flare or help to ease fibromyalgia pain. Cold weather tends to make fibromyalgia symptoms worse, while warmer weather tends to ease those troublesome symptoms.

The Barometric Pressure: Barometric pressure is a measurement of the weight that is exerted by the air all around us. On beautiful sunny days, barometric pressure tends to be quite high, but during a storm or similar weather front, barometric pressure drops suddenly. Fibromyalgia sufferers often find that these changes in barometric pressure can trigger muscle aches and pains.

Increased Humidity: Absolute humidity is a measurement of the amount of water vapor present in each unit of air. When absolute humidity is low, fibromyalgia sufferers often report stiffness, and flares in widespread pain.

Precipitation: Precipitation is the term used to refer to any type of water that falls to the ground from the sky, including rain, sleet, snow, or hail. Precipitation is often accompanied by a change in barometric pressure, and therefore may exacerbate your symptoms of pain and fatigue.

Wind: Whether its a light wind or a gale-force wind, wind generally causes a decrease in barometric pressure. This means that wind can trigger fatigue, headaches, and muscle aches in fibromyalgia sufferers.

Tips To Prevent Barometric Pressure Headaches

The best way to prevent barometric pressure headaches is to be aware of your headache patterns. The sooner you recognize the headache coming on, the faster you can treat or prevent it.

If your doctor has prescribed medication for your headaches, be sure to take it at the first sign of the headache to prevent a severe migraine. You may notice head pain or other symptoms, like ringing in your ears, aura, or nausea.

Take care of your body in other ways, too. Try these:

  • Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night.
  • Drink a minimum of eight glasses of water per day.
  • Exercise most days of the week.
  • Eat a balanced diet and avoid skipping meals.
  • Practice relaxation techniques if youre experiencing stress.

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.


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    Barometric Pressure And Headaches

    Regarding barometric pressure, one study in Internal Medicine examined a small number of people with migraines living in Japan. The participants kept a headache diary for one year. Half of the participants reported low barometric pressure as a migraine trigger. Additionally, results revealed that half of the participants had more frequent headaches the day following a drop in barometric pressure.

    On the other hand, another large study in Headache examined over 900 patients with migraines and did not find a link between migraine attacks and falls in barometric pressure.

    Thunderstorms As A Headache Trigger

    Barometric Pressure Headache Causes and Cures

    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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    Tips To Minimize Migraine Attacks

    If you find this is the case with your migraines, here are some tips to help you decrease the number of episodes you suffer in the future:

    • Stay inside: While being indoors wont change electromagnetic waves or barometric pressure, it can help you to have less exposure to extreme temperatures, high humidity, and bright light.
    • Get some glasses: Migraine glasses that use a tint called FL-41 can help block indoor and outdoor light that may trigger attacks.
    • Take a drink: It seems as if the solution to everything these days is to drink more water. This is true when it comes to migraines as well. Dry weather and high humidity can be counteracted by drinking lots and lots of water.
    • Check out the forecast: Forcasts on sites like and may indicate your chances are of getting a migraine in the next few days, allowing you to use preventative measures.
    • Buy a barometer: Keeping a barometer in your home or workplace will give you a visual heads-up as to when a migraine might be triggered.

    How A Sudden Change In Weather Affects Your Sinuses

    A sudden change in weather is all too familiar to Houstonians, often foiling forecasters and bringing occasional havoc to commutes. But the beginning of a new season is usually a time for excitement, especially if it means a break from the heat and humidity. However, for people with sinus problems, the shift in weatherespecially from summer to fallcan cause sinus pressure.

    Sudden changes in weather can bring unwelcome chronic nasal congestion, sinus infections, headaches, and intense seasonal allergies. What causes this misery, and what can you do to stop it? Lets explore how weather affects your sinus health and ways you can stay healthy and comfortable year-round.

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    How Many People With Migraines Are Weather Sensitive

    No one knows for certain what proportion of people with migraine are truly weather sensitive. Among all those with migraine, just over one-third feel that certain weather patterns trigger at least some of their attacks. In those with more severe migrainethat is, patients who are attending a headache clinicone study found that just over half felt that weather triggered some of their migraine attacks. A smaller proportion of these patients with migraine, about 10%, felt that weather patterns triggered at least two-thirds of their attacks. The specific weather pattern which people feel they are sensitive to varies from person to person.

  • Kelman L. The triggers or precipitants of the acute migraine attack. Cephalalgia 2007 27: 394402.
  • Chabriat H, Danchot J, Michel P, Joire JE and Henry P. Precipitating factors of headache. A prospective study in a national control-matched survey in migraineurs and nonmigraineurs. Headache 1999 39: 335338.
  • Why Weather Triggers Migraines

    Can the weather change cause headaches?

    There may be different reasons for why certain weather events trigger Migraine. High humidity and extremely dry conditions may exacerbate dehydration, one of the most common and preventable Migraine triggers. Bright lights and sun glare activate a condition called among many people with Migraine.

    Why lightning and barometric pressure are associated with Migraine isn’t completely understood. It may be that environmental changes that affect the body’s homeostasis or set-point may predispose someone to develop Migraine.

    Headache specialist Dr. Vince Martin is the lead author on a handful of studies on weather-related Migraine. In an interview during the 2018 Migraine World Summit he explained:

    “Rising barometric pressure can trigger a migraine attack in some individuals. Falling barometric pressure can trigger it in some individuals. But the two often do not cross. So generally speaking, you’re either sensitive to falls or you’re sensitive to rises but not both.

    As for lightning, Dr. Martin and researchers suggest a couple of different theories. More study is needed on medical and natural remedies for headaches caused by weather.

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    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.

    How The Weather Affects Your Migraines

    If your migraines are impacted by weather conditions, youre not alone. Many MyMigraineTeam members find that barometric pressure changes changes in the air pressure in Earths atmosphere can trigger migraines. In fact, more than one-third of people with migraines notice a connection between weather changes and their headaches, according to a 2017 study of atmospheric pressure and headache pain.

    Researchers are not sure why weather changes trigger migraine headaches. They believe that falling barometric pressure may cause an imbalance in brain fluids that can trigger a migraine attack in those who are sensitive. Weather changes can also worsen a headache caused by other migraine triggers.

    • Bright sunlight and sun glare.
    • Extreme heat or cold.
    • Stormy weather.
    • High winds.

    Rainy, cloudy, overcast, snowy, cold, all trigger my migraines big time, said one MyMigraineTeam member. When I wake up with a migraine, I know some crazy pressure system is moving in, shared another. I can feel a storm coming before its even known by the weather person, said a third member.

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    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.

    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.

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    Can Changes In Weather Really Trigger Your Migraines

    How Does Weather Affect Your Migraines?

    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.

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    Barometric Pressure And Sinus Headaches

    One of the trickiest climate issues for people with sinus problems is also one you might not notice. Have you ever seen the large H and L letters in the weather forecast map? If not, you may want to pay more attention to them they signify changes in barometric pressure. Changes in barometric pressure accompany sudden changes in the weather, and can cause alterations in your blood pressure. For sinus sufferers, this may result in painful, sudden sinus pressure, sinus headaches, and stuffiness.

    Even though the results are painful, most people dont notice a change in barometric pressure until its too late. So how can you stay on top of the weather and prevent weather-related sinus headaches? It all starts with better awareness. If you suffer from sinus headaches, start keeping track of the weather and documenting how your sinuses feel. Look for patterns. With a strong understanding of when and how your sinus headaches are triggered, you and your sinus treatment specialist can develop a plan to prevent your sinus headaches before they can drag you down.

    Barometric Pressure: Effects On Sinuses

    Most people donât think much about how barometric pressure might affect them, especially when theyâre younger. However, as the body ages, it may become more susceptible to environmental triggers for pain. When the barometric pressure changes, it can cause changes to the way blood flows through the body, causing increased or decreased blood pressure, sinus pressure, and more.A change in barometric pressure may be responsible for increased instances of migraines and weather may cause changes so subtle that itâs difficult for sufferers or their physicians to discern the problem.Barometric pressure and sinuses also share connections that are not yet fully understood by the scientific or medical communities, making it difficult to pinpoint the exact changes that trigger migraines, stuffiness, changes in blood pressure, and more.Watching the weather for upcoming changes in the barometric pressure, and being aware of when those changes are taking place, can give sufferers a chance to head off problems and pains before they begin with a proactive, preventative approach as recommended by their physician.

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    How Changes In Weather Affect Allergy Symptoms

    How Changes in Weather Affect Allergy Symptoms, Headaches, and Pain

    Most people think they are having an allergic reaction when they experience allergy-like symptoms such as nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, and in some cases, headaches. However, sometimes those symptoms are not an allergic reaction to something, but a sensitivity reaction to the weather. Thats right, changes in the weather, such as barometric pressure fluctuations, temperature changes, and even the change of seasons, can produce allergy-like symptoms including headaches, migraines, and body pain. Find out how in this article.

    Am I Allergic to The Weather?

    You might have noticed that when the weather suddenly changes, going from a sunny to a rainy or snowy day, you get congested or perhaps develop a headache or migraine or other body pain. If you have seasonal allergies you already know that each season brings specific allergens that can trigger symptoms, like sneezing, runny noses, and wheezing. Certain allergens thrive in certain weather conditions. For example, mold grows in the winter, hay fever is common in the summer, and pollen fills the spring and fall air.

    Learn more about seasonal allergies here A Quick Guide to Summer Allergy Symptoms

    Understanding How Weather Can Affect Our Body

    Treatment for Weather Related Inflammation, Pain and Congestion

    Types Of Environmental Triggers

    How can weather patterns trigger a headache?

    Migraine triggers are usually defined by some change in your body or surroundings. Environmental triggers describe changes in your surroundings that originate from the environment. This is obvious when put this way, but it hints at the breadth of this category and what all contributes to it.

    Because these factors are out of your control and often unseen it can be difficult to isolate them as a real trigger as opposed to randomness. Understanding the kinds of changes that might contribute to your headaches can help you identify patterns in your own life.

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    Ways Weather Affects Your Health Without You Knowing

    Do your joints hurt when a storm’s coming? You have the change in barometric pressure to thank though your joints aren’t the only part of your body affected by the weather.

    In fact, the weather’s impact on your body and the natural world is so varied, there’s a whole scientific study devoted to it: biometeorology. It’s a small, but diverse field of atmospheric scientists who study how and why the weather impacts animals, plants and humans. From changing symptoms of existing diseases, contributing to new conditions and prompting temporary physiological changes inside your body, the weather’s effect on your health is far-reaching.

    But figuring out what exactly specific weather events do to the body is an imprecise science that’s still developing, particularly when it comes to pain and emotional health, Grady Dixon, Ph.D., an associate professor in the department of geosciences at Mississippi State University, said in an interview with

    “When weather changes, it’s not often just one variable that changes,” he said. “Is a change in temperature that’s affecting a person well-being? Or is it the change in wind or cloud cover? It’s hard to figure out which change is affecting humans, and because we’re largely relying on human perceptions, trying to quantify how these changes affect humans is another challenge.”

    Read on to find out more.


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