How To Handle A Barometric Migraine
It makes sense that your first step in managing this type of migraine is to know when the barometric pressure is changing, so investing in a small barometer for your home can help alert you ahead of time.
Some other ways you can reduce the severity of a barometric headache are:
- Watch the weather: Its not enough to just look through the window. Youll need to follow the weather predictions in detail, particularly the next two to three days.
- Stay hydrated: Avoid the effects of increased humidity that typically accompany cloud build-up by keeping up your water consumption.
- Avoid glare: Staying indoors might not help you avoid changes in barometric pressure, but it will enable you to manage your exposure to glare, extreme temperatures and humidity. Investing in a good pair of tinted glasses also helps block sunlight outdoors and bright, fluorescent lights indoors.
- Watch Your Triggers: When you know a low pressure period is coming, keep a close eye on any other of your particular triggers, such as foods and drinks that might affect your migraines. Its possible to get away with having these occasionally, but try to avoid combining them with a dip on the barometer.
Disclaimer: Migraine Relief Center does not endorse the quality or effectiveness of any apps mentioned this blog, only that they exist.
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 To Survive Migraines Triggered By Weather Changes
Summer is here! Many people look forward to the hot weather, but not migraine sufferers. People living with migraines tend to dread summertime as the weather changes may trigger another distressing set of migraines.
Migraines are known to bring about severe, pounding or throbbing headaches. They may also involve nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to loud sound, bright light, and strong odors. One migraine trigger is weather changes, and well discuss more about it in this post, including how the nearest chiropractor for migraine relief in Wapakoneta, OH can help you.
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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 .
Which Weather Changes Trigger Migraine Headaches
The specific weather patterns or changes in weather that might trigger your migraine attacks depends on you. Every person with migraine likely has a unique set of triggers which may include stress, certain foods, alcohol, and other factors. In the same way, some people with migraine are likely sensitive to one weather factor, and others are sensitive to other factors.
An American study found that some people with migraine appear to be sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity. Another American study found that higher temperatures increased the number of patients with migraine who went to the emergency department with headache.
Barometric pressure may be another factor. One study looked at whether falling barometric pressure seemed to trigger headaches during a time when a typhoon hit Japan. It found that 75% of people with migraine had migraine attacks associated with the drop in barometric pressure, while only 20% of people with tension-type headache experienced an attack.
The amount of sunshine may also be a factor. In a study from Austria, sunshine on more than three hours a day increased the possibility of a migraine, and a Norwegian study found that migraines were more likely during the long summer days in the Arctic.
In conclusion, many different weather patterns have been found in different research studies to increase the chances of having a migraine attack in some people, but not in others. Just how these weather patterns cause this is not known.
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Medicines And Other Remedies
Theres little any of us can do about the weather. So outside of locking ourselves in pressure-regulated chambers, painkillers and decongestants are probably the only way to remedy your pain until the weather outside passes through.
Its also worth noting, however, that headaches rarely happen due to one trigger alone and changes in atmospheric pressure may not always cause a headache. Bad posture and inflammation in the body may both cause headaches. Muscles that are contracted over long periods time need more blood flow to deliver oxygen and other nutrients and this is the hallmark of inflammation over time. Stress increases the levels of adrenaline and cortisol in our body, which can also cause inflammation and widen the blood vessels in your head leading to headaches and pain.
Proper posture and reducing stress may help prevent headaches. Staying hydrated and eating a varied diet containing essential minerals and vitamins, and avoiding trigger foods and drinks , will also help.
When bad weather is impending, vigorous chewing can help the pressure equalise in your sinuses through your mouth, nose, and Eustachian tube and may ward off a pressure headache. And choosing sugar-free gum sweetened with xylitol may also have the added benefit of stopping nasty respiratory bugs from sticking to your mucus membranes by changing their cell wall structure, according to one study.
Transitioning From Season To Season
With all of this fluctuation in weather, its so important to be aware of the other triggers that can fill your bucket. Especially when transitioning from one season to the next. Its especially worth noting weather conditions around the change of season if you are also making a change in your diet, preventive medications or other preventive measures.
If you are prone to being triggered by weather, the change of season tends to be a time with more migraine attacks. Make sure to take the migraine forecast into account before blaming food or other preventive measures for the increase in attacks.
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Can Cold Weather Cause Headaches
Temperature changes can also trigger a migraine attack. Cold weather is generally preceded by barometric pressure falling. A big change in temperature can affect our migraine no matter if it is an increase or decrease in temperature. This study also found that an increase in temperature and atmospheric pressure corresponded to increased pain ratings in MH patients.
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.
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Natural Remedies For Barometric Pressure Headaches
I have been searching for remedies to help me manage weather related attacks for years. I have found that the more on point I am with my preventive routine the easier it is for me to manage an incoming weather front. Below are a few things that I have used over the years and found helpful.
- WeatherX app and earplugs These pressure filtering earplugs help you adjust to the incoming pressure fluctuations. I have used them for a few years and find they help me mange fluctuations in pressure much like the EarPlanes help with pressure during flight.
- Supplements While supplements arent recommended specifically for weather changes, taking the recommended migraine supplements can help to reduce the overall level of triggers in your bucket. Ginger, magnesium, Riboflavin , CoQ10, Feverfew and Turmeric can all have a positive preventive effect on migraine. Ginger can also be used for treating migraine attacks.
- Glasses for migraine light sensitivity Whether it is TheraSpecs, Migraine Shields or other migraine specific glasses, they can offer protection from the sun and glare. Preventive medications as well as the Allay Lamp can also reduce the pain from light sensitivity.
Managing Migraines In General
Whatever your specific triggers, the following steps will help you manage your migraines.
Practice good sleep hygiene. Make sure you get enough sleep and try to fall asleep around the same time each night. Interruptions in your sleep schedulesuch as getting too much or too little sleepcan trigger migraines in some people.
Drink plenty of water. Eating regular meals and drinking enough water can help prevent migraines caused by a drop in blood sugar or dehydration. A common recommendation is to drink six or eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day. However, some adults may need more, depending on how much they exercise, for example.
Be careful with coffee. Although caffeine can provide migraine relief , too much can cause migraines. Caffeine can be found in chocolate and cocoa beverages such as coffee, tea and colas and certain medications.
Limit alcohol. Blood flow to your brain increases when you drink alcohol. Red wine in particular triggers migraines in many people.
Watch what you eat. Many foods can trigger migraines. A few of the more common ones include peanuts, peanut butter, other nuts and seeds, chocolate, and foods containing tyramine, such as aged cheeses and cured meats.
Exercise regularly. Research has shown that regular, moderate aerobic exercise may reduce the severity, duration, and number of migraines in many people. Regular exercise also helps control stress, another migraine trigger.
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Over The Counter Treatment Options
The following over the counter treatments are recommended by members of our Migraine Strong facebook group who experience migraine ear pressure. Over the counter and natural treatment suggested here should be discussed with and approved by your doctor before implementing.
- Ibuprofen- My personal treatment plan includes Advil every four hours until symptom reduction occurs.
- Allergy medication- Many reported relief from allergy medications such as Zyrtec & Flonase- Be aware this one is on the list of medications that may make migraine worse.
- Ear Plugs that regulate inner ear pressure can help too. Best if youre triggered by barometric pressure.
Ways To Ward Off Headaches
Weather is certainly not the only reason we get headaches. Stress, specific over-the-counter medicines like analgesics or pain killers, hormonal triggers and certain disorders related to sleep for example may also be causes, Dr. Kriegler says.
And while you cant control the weather, you can take steps to minimize the your risk, severity and treatment of a headache or migraine attack by following some best practices.
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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.
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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Why Weather Triggers Migraines
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.
Study Downplays Weather As A Migraine Trigger
By Amy Norton, Reuters Health
5 Min Read
NEW YORK – Many people who suffer migraines believe that certain weather changes set off their symptoms, but a new study finds no strong evidence that this is true.
Weather is most probably overestimated, researcher Dr. Christian Wober, of the Medical University of Vienna, said. People search for causal explanations for their migraine attacks, but recall is often biased.
The findings, reported in the medical journal Cephalalgia, add to a conflicting body of research into the idea that weather factors — including changes in temperature, sunshine and atmospheric pressure — are true migraine triggers.
A study published last year in the journal Neurology, for instance, found a correlation between weather changes and ER visits for migraine and other headaches at one Boston hospital. For every increase in temperature of about nine degrees Fahrenheit, the odds of visits for migraine and non-migraine headaches rose by 7.5 percent.
Similarly, the risk of non-migraine headaches increased during the two to three days following a drop in atmospheric pressure. Low pressure generally means cloudy skies and storms, while high pressure means clear skies.
However, a number of other studies — including the current one — have failed to find a clear connection between weather and migraine.
People may, for instance, be more likely to recall bad weather on days they have a migraine, or less likely to do so on migraine-free days, he explained.
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Is Ear Fluttering & Migraine Ear Pressure Eustachian Tube Dysfunction
Let me start by saying migraine ear pressure and sensations of ear fluttering, fullness and popping and the distorted sounds that come with them are not usually a eustachian tube problem. It definitely feels like eustachian tube dysfunction, but typically the eustachian tube continues to function normally. Similar to the way migraine can make your teeth hurt even though your teeth are healthy. And migraine can make you feel like you have sinus congestion, even when there is no sinus issue present. Migraine can make you feel like you have eustachian tube dysfunction even when you dont.
Migraine variant symptoms like ear pressure and fluttering are often described as being a result of central sensitization from a hyper-responsive, hyper-excitable, sensitive migraine brain. But what does that actually mean? Dr. Teixido, board certified Neurotologist at ENT & Allergy of Delaware says people without migraine disease can adapt to sensory stimulus such as barometric changes, light, noise, strong smells, movement etc. within minutes. Effectively turning stimulus off and moving it into the background. But, for those of us with migraine, our brains dont easily adapt.