Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Can Weather Changes Cause Migraines

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How To Mitigate Migraines

Weather changes might trigger migraines

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For people who suffer from weather-induced migraines, treatment may be a bit complicated.

“A lot of times patients will say, Maybe I should move to the desert or a place where there’s no weather, and the truth is there still is weather in these places,” Berk said. “Sometimes when the weather comes, can be even more disastrous when it does happen, and sometimes this can be really severe.”

He added that, while weather may be a major trigger, its only one of the multiple factors that may consistently trigger migraines.

“What we like to do is try to figure out what all of your triggers are and sometimes mitigate some of them more than others,” Berk said.

“Weather is definitely something that you can’t really mitigate for, but there can even be things that can happen and your migraines, whether they’re triggered by weather or anything else, there are supplements that we sometimes recommend.”

How Weather Changes Are Related To Migraines

The temperatures suddenly rise, and you have a migraine attack. Or, perhaps your migraines are tied to humidity levels or barometric pressure. These types of changes in the weather have long been cited as a driver of migraine attacks among some of the 35 million people in the United States who suffer from migraines.

At Spinal Diagnostics, our team specializes in helping people manage headaches, including migraines. While theres still much that we dont understand about this neurological disorder, we want to look at the connection between migraines and weather.

Create A Prevention Strategy

Forming a prevention plan with your doctor is key. Your strategy should center around anticipating and alleviating triggers. That might involve increasing your hydration or temporarily using preventive medications, Dr. Klenofsky says.

Additionally, steer clear of migraine-activating foods, especially when there’s rain or thunderstorms in the forecast, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Common offenders include:

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Know The Weather Forecast

Knowing which weather-related triggers are headed your way might give you a chance to alter your plans or, at the very least, keep your migraine treatments handy.

There’s a feature on AccuWeather that gives a migraine forecast for your area. It includes several migraine-specific weather triggers . Our shared with us that it is a remarkably accurate way to know how to prevent weather-related migraine attacks.

How Weather Changes Can Trigger Migrainesand What You Can Do To Stop Them

Can Weather Changes Trigger Migraines?

To say that weather has become headache-inducing feels like an extreme understatement. The forecast has gone from something we casually referenced when choosing a coat or planning a beach day to a chronic source of anxiety. Wildfires, flash floods, record-breaking hurricanes, tornado watchesall now seem like weekly events. It’s no surprise that studies are beginning to link climate-change worry to not only head pain but other psycho-physical symptoms.

For many people living with migraine, though, even ordinary weather patterns have always seemed closely linked to how they feeland in a way thats more than just psychological. Migraine is a genetic neurological disease that can be affected by environmental factors, and in various studies, about 45 to 70 percent of patients report weather as a trigger for their migraine attacks, explains Juliana VanderPluym, M.D., headache medicine specialist and assistant professor of neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix.

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Weather Changes And Migraines

About 53% of people with migraines identified weather changes as the top trigger of their migraine episodes. If you suffer from migraines, you know that when the hot and humid weather starts, a migraine episode will most likely follow.

According to the International Headache Society, there are several triggers for weather-related migraines:

  • Changes in temperature
  • Bright lights and glare from the sun
  • Increased humidity

The shift in weather may lead to imbalances in brain chemicals. This includes serotonin, known to influence migraines. But why do weather changes lead to migraines?

To learn more about the connection between head and neck injuries and migraines download our complimentary e-book by clicking the image below.

How To Figure Out Your Migraine Triggers

One way to help your doctor find out if you have weather-related triggers is to keep a headache or migraine diary. Each day, jot down any changes in the weather, such as storms, high winds, or high humidity.

This way, you can look back a day or two before a headache starts and check for signs of what might’ve triggered it. Then you could share your notes with your doctor.

You can also use the diary to keep tabs on other things that might be setting off your headaches, like foods and drinks. Common triggers include chocolate, caffeine, and foods with the preservatives MSG and nitrates.

When you get a headache, write down:

  • Your symptoms: where you feel the pain, how it feels, and any other problems, like vomiting or sensitivity to noise, smells, or bright light.
  • The time your headache started and ended.
  • Any treatment you tried, and whether it helped or made the headache worse.

If you notice any early warning signs of a headache, jot those down in your diary, too. Some people have clear signs that a migraine is coming, even as early as 48 hours before the headache strikes. These are called “prodromal” symptoms, and they can include yawning a lot and feeling irritable, depressed, or very excitable.

Keep a detailed diary for 3 months to let any possible patterns show up.

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Barometric Pressure Headache Symptoms

While you can get a migraine from other triggers, barometric pressure can also aggravate your symptoms.

In addition to typical migraine symptoms like nausea, vomiting and light and sound sensitivity, those who have a migraine triggered by barometric pressure may experience the following:

  • Facial discomfort or pain around their sinuses.
  • Post-nasal drip.
  • Teary eyes.

Those who get migraines with aura will have visual and sensory changes, says Dr. Estemalik. All these symptoms you wouldnt typically see in people who just have sinus-related issues or allergy symptoms.

Ways To Keep Barometric Pressure Headaches At Bay

Can weather cause migraines? Health and the Weather

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. Estemalik explains. And while you cant control the weather, you can take steps to minimize your risk, severity and treatment of a headache or migraine attack by following some best practices.

  • Avoid other triggers when the weather is bad. Stay away from foods that cause migraines, like those that contain caffeine, monosodium glutamate and nitrates and youll remove one other trigger factor from the mix.
  • Keep rescue medications handy. Discuss these medications with your doctor. If you havent tried rescue medications before, ask your doctor whats available. If you know certain drugs work for you, make sure your prescriptions are up to date to have them at the ready.
  • Ask about preventive options. If you go through an especially bad period of migraines, your doctor may want to try medications or other treatments designed to keep migraines at bay before they happen. Sleep deprivation or other sleep issues for example can contribute to a higher frequency of headaches, so its important for you to get adequate sleep each night. Too much sleep can also trigger a migraine, so sleeping in on your days off may also provoke a headache.
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    Do Weather Changes Cause Migraines

    Around 38 million¹ Americans suffer from migraines, with about 5 million¹ experiencing them at least once a month. Weather variations may be to blame for some people’s migraines. It is thus advisable to understand the relationship between migraines and the weather to help monitor your condition should a headache ensue.

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    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 .

    The Link Between Weather And Migraines

    Can Weather Changes Really Trigger Migraines?

    Studies² suggest a link between weather change and migraine attacks. For instance, a study conducted in Taiwan showed that half of the individuals who suffer from migraines blame the temperature changes as the primary cause. Extreme heat, barometric pressure variations, and storms could all affect these attacks by affecting brain chemical and serotonin levels.

    Studies on the link between weather and migraines have been inconsistent because weather variations can produce a variety of reactions, making it difficult for researchers to pinpoint a single cause.

    It is also challenging to gather clear evidence of weather contributing to migraines since not everyone reacts similarly to each change in weather. For instance, some people experience migraine symptoms when the temperature rises, whereas others experience headaches when it gets cold. Certain persons are more sensitive to changes in humidity and temperature than others.

    A combination of circumstances might trigger a migraine attack. For instance, you might have an episode on humid days, but only if you’re also worried or hungry.

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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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    What We Know About Weather And Migraines

    One of the challenging aspects of figuring out what drives migraines is that the triggers can vary considerably between one migraine sufferer to the next. For example, one person may experience a migraine attack after drinking red wine while another tends to have attacks during times of high stress.

    What we do know is that some triggers are more common than others and changes in the weather are cited with some frequency.

    There are several theories about why weather can influence migraine attacks. For example, when the temperatures begin to rise, or the sun is out, your brain produces more serotonin, and this change in brain chemicals may cause an attack.

    As another example, lets take a look at barometric pressure, which measures pressure of the air around you. When the barometric pressure falls, blood vessels and tissues in your brain can swell, worsening a headache.

    Lastly, theres some evidence that humidity can also play a role in migraines. One study found that higher relative humidity was associated with higher odds of migraine headache onset in the warm season.

    Unfortunately, there are no definitive studies that directly connect weather and migraines, but we recognize that a connection exists.

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    Migraines Are Caused By Inflammatory Proteins Which The Brain Produces In Response To Specific Triggers

    The brain can detect the most subtle changes in weather and cause severe headaches.

    Migraines are unseen, but they can cause life-altering pain.

    “The brain itself is very mysterious, and migraine, which is very common, is one of the most mysterious of all neurologic conditions,” said Thomas Berk, a neurologist and headache specialist with NYU Langone Health.

    According to Berk, MRIs dont detect changes in the brain of a person suffering from migraines.

    “So, there’s this silent and mysterious dysfunction that’s happening to the brain that comes and goes, and then you can be completely and totally back to normal afterwards,” he said.

    “This is something that people have been describing for literally thousands of years,” Beck added. “Ancient Egypt, ancient Greece — they’ve had their own treatments for it, and this is something that’s extremely human and, to me, very fascinating.”

    Whenever The Weather Changes Some People Experience Health Problems Like Cold And Cough But Does Changing Weather Also Impact Migraines

    Can the weather change cause headaches?

    Written by Editorial Team | Updated : July 2, 2022 9:01 AM IST

    While most of us experience a headache once in a while and are aware of the ways to deal with it, a migraine is much more than a headache. And though migraines are a relatively common condition, this neurological disease can be completely debilitating. They’re known as one of the main causes of disability worldwide, with patients reporting severe impairment in activity, the need for bed rest, and reduced work or school productivity due to migraines.

    A migraine is a lot more than just a ‘splitting’ headache. It is a particular kind of headache in which one side of the head is more painful than the other with its intensity varying from moderate to severe. Symptoms often include nausea, and light or sound sensitivity that can last for a few hours to even days. Besides, it can be accompanied by dizziness, neck pain, and difficulty concentrating among others.

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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.

    Am I Experiencing A Migraine

    A migraine is only one of many types of headaches. Migraines begin to develop when overactive nerve cells trigger the blood vessels in your brain to swell, Dr. Ben-Othmane says. The swollen blood vessels send pain signals back to the brain. While it is still not known what causes someone to have migraines, it is clear they result from a combination of genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors. But individuals who have migraines notice that they have specific things, such as change in barometric pressure, that trigger a migraine.

    For a headache to be considered a migraine, doctors look at the duration, type of pain and other signals, such as:

    • Flickering light called an aura
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Number of attacks, at least five lasting 4-72 hours if untreated
    • Sensitivity to light and sound
    • Pulsing pain from mild to severe
    • Pain aggravated by physical activity
    • Pain around the eye, temple area, face, sinus, jaw or neck

    Other migraine facts:

    • In 15 to 20% of attacks, other neurological symptoms occur before head pain, according to the Migraine Research Foundation.
    • People between the ages of 15 and 55 most commonly experience migraines.
    • As many as 80% of people experiencing this condition have a family history of migraines, according to the National Headache Foundation.

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    Test Your Powers Of Migraine Weather Prediction

    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 that you can control.

    Holly Gerring-Leone contributed to this article.

    Migraines Hurricanes And Shifts In Barometric Pressure

    Migraines: Are They Triggered By Weather Changes?

    For some, changes in the weather bring welcome relief, but for those who experience migraine headaches, the fluctuations can be another trigger for this often debilitating neurological condition. Weather changes can be a particular problem during hurricane season.

    As many as half of those who suffer from migraines report that weather is a factor. Many weather conditions can cause migraines precipitation, humidity, lightning, wind and barometric pressure.

    Barometric pressure, also known as atmospheric pressure, measures the force of air exerted on a surface. This pressure changes as different air masses or fronts move through. Changes in barometric pressure can happen with temperature changes, wind, precipitation and cloud cover.

    When the air pressure changes, it creates a difference in pressure between the air surrounding you and the air in your sinus cavities, says Kamel Ben-Othman, M.D., a neurologist with Riverside Neurology and Sleep Specialists. This is similar to what happens when you fly in an airplane, and your ear hurts from changes in altitude.

    According to the American Migraine Foundation, one Japanese study looked at the effects a typhoon, another term for a hurricane, and falling barometric pressure had on headaches. Researchers discovered that 75% of people prone to migraines had a migraine attack during these weather shifts. Only 20% of people who experience tension headaches experienced a migraine attack.

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