The Connection Between Weather & Migraines

By Jennifer

How Weather Impacts My Migraines

I have changed my diet to avoid nitrates, MSG, chocolate and certain cheeses that trigger my migraines. I have tried to learn new ways to handle stress. Of course, I take my medications just like I am supposed to and I follow my doctors instructions to the best of my ability. I do absolutely everything I can to avoid the things that make my life harder.

But there is that one little trigger that I have not been able to figure out how to avoid: the weather!

The barometric pressure can be my best friend or my biggest enemy. One sharp drop or rise in a short period of time can send me into the deep escape of my dark bedroom, leave my body in painful turmoil, my vision filled with bright and dark spots and my head splitting open.

Even though many of my migraines are triggered by barometric changes, there are other weather related factors that can also trigger migraine and headaches. According to the Mayo Clinic, these include:

  • Extreme heat or cold,
  • High humidity,
  • Dry air,
  • Windy or stormy weather,
  • Barometric Pressure changes,
  • Bright sunlight and sun glare

The Research Behind Weather-Related Migraines

Other sources explain that it can be difficult to scientifically prove a link between the weather and migraine. The American Migraine Foundation cites a study from Vienna, Austria that included 238 patients found that, “The influence of weather factors on migraine and headache is small and questionable.” The AMF also states that, “Other studies have shown, however, that weather changes can be an attack trigger for some people with migraine.”

Medical News Today also explains,

“Researchers think that changes in atmospheric pressure cause a pressure difference between the sinus cavities, the structures and chambers of the inner ear, and the outside world. Increasing external pressure may also cause blood vessels to dilate and abnormal blood flow to the brain, increasing the risk of a headache or a migraine.”

Why has it been so difficult to scientifically prove the link between the weather and migraine?

A person may have several migraine triggers and even if weather changes happen to be one of them, many of their migraine episodes may be caused by other triggers or episodes can be brought on by a combination of triggers instead of one. Because of this, specific triggers are often difficult to track in a research setting.

In spite of this, there is absolutely no doubt that many migraine and headache sufferers are negatively affected by changes in the weather. The American Migraine Foundation states that just over a third of migraine sufferers report that the weather has an influence on their migraines.

Would moving to a new region help weather-related migraine and headaches?

There is no guarantee that moving will decrease migraine or headache episodes. People all over the world report that some of their episodes are triggered by weather patterns. Each region of the world is susceptible to different atmospheric weather changes that can cause migraine and headaches.

So, what can be done to ease the burden of weather related attacks?

– Be diligent in managing and/or avoiding other triggers that can be controlled during times when major weather changes might be occurring.

– If you’re not already doing so, start keeping a headache journal, this will help you figure out what your specific triggers may be.

– Managing your schedule to reduce being overly fatigued and getting an adequate amount of sleep will also prove beneficial.

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