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Why Does Weather Cause Migraines

Warm Weather May Trigger Migraines

Migraines with weather change | Why do I get migraines when the weather changes?

Temperature Increase Is the Biggest Weather-Related Headache Trigger, Research Suggests

New research suggests that certain weather conditions may trigger migraines and other severe headaches. But frequent sufferers may be surprised by some of the findings.

The study reveals that:

  • Regardless of the time of year, an increase in temperature was the biggest weather-related headache trigger. Researchers reported that every 9 degree Fahrenheit increase in temperature raised the headache risk by 7.5%.
  • Low barometric air pressure is considered by some to be specific to migraines, but the study found no link between migraines and low-pressure systems. The researchers say lower pressure was associated with a small increase in risk for non-migraine headaches.
  • Air pollution was not strongly associated with an increased risk for migraine or non-migraine headaches. But the automobile exhaust pollutant nitrogen dioxide did show a borderline effect on non-migraine headaches.

Barometric Pressure Measures The Exerted Force Of The Air Around You Youll Often Hear That People Get A Headache When A Storm Rolls In This Is Due To The Increase In Barometric Pressure Which Pushes On Their Sinuses And Gives Them A Headache

Generally, the closer you are to sea level, the higher the barometric pressure. Two main factors cause this:

  • the amount of gravitational force pushing the air down around you
  • the density of the air, based on the amount of water vapor in the air
  • So, what does barometric pressure have to do with indoor humidity?

    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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    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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    Lower Indoor Humidity With Dehumidifiers

    Hurricane Season Is Here  Prepare for More Migraines ...

    Did you know? You can use a dehumidifier to lower indoor humidity levels and reduce mold growth and air density. And heres the best part: while we usually cant feel the difference with our hands, we typically can in our sinuses. Goodbye migraines!

    So, if lower humidity in your room decreases the air pressure, then a humidifier must make it worse then, right?

    Not necessarily.

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    There’s An App For That

    Ryanjlane/Getty Images

    You can’t control the weather, as Mother Nature has her own plans. But you can get ahead of barometric weather changes. Most of what I learned explained that itâs important to take medicine as soon as you experience symptoms. This helped me dramatically. An app called WeatherX Forecast offers two solutions: special earplugs to help with discomfort and barometric pressure forecasts.

    “The app can be very useful because it can send you an alert when barometric pressure drops by 20 millibars, which is the common threshold for migraines,” Mauskop notes. “You can actually send alerts to yourself for smaller or greater barometric pressure changes depending on how sensitive you are, but 20 millibars is the standard one.” The value of the apps is it tells you a warningâusually before you develop a headacheâso you can either use the earplugs, take medicine, or both.

    Tara Moore/Getty Images

    There are also alternative ways to deal with head pain. While there are no specific ones for barometric pressure headaches, there are methods for migraines. âWe recommend preventative regular exercise, which conditions your blood vessels and muscles,â says Mauskop.

    He also suggests getting your stress levels down. âVery often it is not a single trigger, like weather, but multiple triggers,â he explains. âIf you are under stress, dehydrated, hungry, or sleep deprived, then the weather could just be an additional trigger that will bring on a migraine.â

    Barometric Pressure And The Column Of Air Illustration

    Barometric pressure is the measure of the weight of the atmosphere. The handiest way weve heard this concept described goes like this: Imagine that there is a column of the atmosphere extending straight up from the top of your head to the edge of the earths atmosphere.

    The higher up you go on the earths surfacelike when you go hiking in the mountainsthe shorter the column of the atmosphere gets. There are fewer molecules in the atmosphere the further you get from ground level, so the column is also less dense. In short, there is less atmospheric pressure at higher elevations.Meanwhile, the further down you below surface levellike when you go scuba divingthe longer, heavier, and denser the column becomes. . Therefore, there is higher pressure at lower elevations.

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    How To Prevent Migraines Caused By The Weather

    While you cant control the weather, you can control other potential triggers, says Dr. Crystal. For some people with migraine, it takes a perfect stormpun intendedto trigger an attack. So, she says, if you know your particular weather trigger, make sure to optimize other conditions. For example, if youre worried about a brewing storm, make sure to avoid your known food triggers, get plenty of rest, and practice stress reduction. And of course, make sure to have your medications on hand.

    Moreover, tracking weather can be helpful. I recommend using the WeatherX app, says Dr. Crystal. Once you establish a relationship between weather and your migraines, she says, you can potentially pre-treat with an anti-inflammatory medication.

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    What Can Be Done To Protect Migraine From Barometric Changes

    Can the weather change cause headaches?

    This is such a difficult question. However, of those common migraine triggers, on their own, they probably cannot trigger an attack. So most people may have to have 2 or 3 triggers and thats now enough to trigger an attack.

    So you have 5 nice sunny days and then a thunder storm, try to limit the exposure to other triggers on those days in advance, if you can.

    This means to take good care of yourself so that your migraine headaches and weather changes might actually be a little more manageable.

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    Learn Your Headache Triggers

    Figuring out what causes or worsens your headaches is the first step in finding an effective treatment.

    Dr. Block recommends tracking your headaches on a calendar. Write down what kind of headache you have, where it is located in your head, and what went on during that day, he says. Did you have something to eat that was out of the ordinary? Was the weather pattern changing? Did the temperature fluctuate? Or was the pressure changing?

    Of course, theres nothing you can do to change the weather. But knowing what one or more weather conditions act as a trigger is valuable information. These clues will help your doctor determine the best treatment options for you.

    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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      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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      Can Weather Changes Trigger Migraines

      Understanding Migraines Caused by Weather

        If youve ever suffered a migraine, you dont soon forget the throbbing pain and pulsating that can send you to bed in a dark room. No one knows for sure what causes migraines, but weather changes seem to trigger the mega headaches in some people. Before the barometric pressure drops and a migraine finds you again, let Boston PainCares board-certified physicians create a treatment plan that can help tame your migraines and headaches.

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        So How Does The Weather Affect My Migraines

        In general, any sudden change can trigger a headache. If the temperature were to suddenly increase or decrease, that may put you at risk for a headache. If the humidity were to suddenly become very high or very low, a headache becomes more likely. A passing storm or wind system might also trigger a migraine. Going to Denver for a trip, and having a sudden change in altitude might also do it. You may also have headaches while flying, especially during the descent. This headache may also be related to a mismatch between the pressure around you and the pressure in your sinuses.

        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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        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.

        Any Other Common Causes That People Should Consider Before Jumping To The Weather

        Why do we get headaches with sudden weather changes

        “Oh yes. I think weather is a huge trigger, but other big triggers are certainly stress. Another very common trigger in women is hormonal. For other patients it could be not enough sleep.

        “And another thing to keep in mind is that sometimes with a particular migraine attack it’s a combination of triggers coming together. So it could be that the drop in barometric pressure or weather is one of many triggers contributing towards a given attack. I usually encourage my patients when you’re trying to track your headaches, kind of look back for 24, 48, maybe 72 hours before the headache and try to start identifying patterns for when you get a headache.”

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        Can Humidity Cause Headaches The Facts You Need To Know

        Although everyone has their own unique triggers for headaches and migraines, there are certain factors that are more prevalent than others. For example, stress, poor sleep, high blood pressure, and many other well-known health concerns contribute to frequent headaches.

        But there is one other thing you might not think about: the weather.

        Yes, its impossible to escape Floridas rainy weather, but it is one of the biggest headache factors.

        The secret of humidity is barometric pressure, a measurement of the air and water pressure in the atmosphere at any given time. Air pressure is the force exerted by the weight of air over your head, while water pressure refers to the weight of water.

        Most migraine sufferers dont have any problem operating at consistently high or consistently low pressure. When pressure levels change suddenly, however, an attack becomes much more likely.

        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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        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

        Why Is Weather A Migraine Trigger

        Why Do I Get Headaches With The Cold Weather?  Page 2

        Different factors cause different headaches, says Dr. Berk, adding that weather does have an impact.Most often its related to changes in weather patterns rather than just heat or cold, he says. For instance, the humidity and change in barometric pressure can be a common migraine trigger. The migraine brain is sensitive to all kinds of changesand the response to change often is a migraine exacerbation.”

        Dr. Pace estimates that in over a third of people with migraines, weather pattern changes are a trigger. Research shows that a change in pressure systemsso when rainstorms come, or high humid states, as well as changes in temperaturecan increase the likelihood of headache. Though it is not completely understood why certain weather conditions can lead to headaches, she says that barometric pressure changes may cause over-excitement of areas of the brain that control pain. Atmospheric pressure changes may also change the pressure within the sinuses and inner ears which can also lead to the experience of pain.

        People with migraines tend to be more sensitive to bright light, including sunlight, says Sara Crystal, MD, is a Neurologist who currently serves as medical director for Cove, a digital health program that allows patients to access expert care for their migraines. She also mentions that weather changes may affect serotonin levels in the brain, which in turn triggers attacks.

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