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Does Low Barometric Pressure Cause Headaches

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Migraines Hurricanes And Shifts In Barometric Pressure

Low-Pressure Headache – Finding the Leak

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.

Weather And Altitude Changes

A person may experience a headache, or a worsened headache, due to:

  • sudden changes in temperature or humidity
  • high or low levels of temperature or humidity
  • a storm, which changes the barometric pressure
  • changes in altitude, such as during plane travel

Depending on the type and exact cause of a headache, a person may benefit from taking:

  • over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications
  • acetaminophen
  • medications called triptans, which treat migraine and cluster headaches

A doctor may prescribe other or additional treatments, depending on a persons specific symptoms.

What Does A Barometric Pressure Headache Feel Like

Feels like: An intense, throbbing pain, often one side of the head. The pain is often accompanied by symptoms like nausea, vomiting, sound and light sensitivity, and auras. Auras are changes in vision, speech, and other sensations. They occur before the migraine starts.

Read Also: Best Essential Oils For Migraines

Can A Heatwave Cause Headaches The Reason You Might Be Feeling Unwell In The Heat

With Scotland currently experiencing a record-breaking heatwave, many of us will be enduring dizzying heat. But can the hot weather give you headaches?

Heatwaves can cause headaches as warm temperatures can trigger headaches and even migraines. There are a number of reasons why hot weather causes headaches, including dehydration, a rapid change in air pressure, and bright sunlight.

Severe headaches can be triggered by a rapid drop or rise in the barometric pressure , which causes pain when the air pressure in your sinuses is different from the outside air. In hot weather, the barometric pressure can fall suddenly, especially in the event of a thunderstorm or high wind.

Unfortunately, those who suffer chronic migraines are more likely to have a painful reaction to even a small change in the air pressure, one study found. Other symptoms theyre likely to experience from a change in pressure include nausea, sensitivity to light, and pain in the temples, Healthline reports.

Read More: 10 reasons why headaches cause you pain and the best ways to treat them

Headaches can also be a symptom of heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Signs of serious heatstroke that should be treated as an emergency include fast breathing or shortness of breath, a fit , loss of consciousness, or non-responsiveness, the NHS states.

Similarly, bright sunlight can also trigger headaches. Wearing sunglasses is advised to prevent this and protect your eyes.


Quick Tip: Keep A Headache Journal

Barometric Pressure Headache Causes and Cures

The best way to determine if your headaches are caused by pressure changes is to keep a headache journal. Every time you have a headache, note the date, time, symptoms, length of the headache, and the pressure changes in weather.

If you begin to notice a pattern that points to weather as a trigger for your headaches, bring your journal to your doctor to discuss the correlation.

Your doctor may ask more questions and consider ordering tests based on your history before feeling confident that youâre experiencing barometric pressure headaches.

Also Check: Headaches At Night And In The Morning

A Combination Of Factors

It’s important to note that while there seems to be a link between migraines, barometric pressure and sunlight, scientists still haven’t found an indisputable correlate when it comes to weather, Dr. Klenofsky says.

“If you ask patients, they can have just as many headaches on bad-weather days as they do good-weather days,” Dr. Klenofsky says. And this is reflected in the research: For example, studies find that people report migraines during both low- and high-barometric-pressure days , she says.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean there isn’t a real connection between migraine headaches and weather, Dr. Klenofsky adds. Rather, it may indicate that migraines can be multifactorial. In other words, a variety of weather variables and triggers can produce migraines, and these factors differ from one person to another.

“We, as a scientific community, have yet to identify a concrete mechanism of migraine,” Dr. Klenofsky says. “It may be that a lot of the brain and what it does continues to elude us, but it also very well may be that migraine can occur from a multitude of mechanisms.”


Still not sure about the source of your headaches? Work with your doctor to try to determine the root cause or causes.

Can Barometric Pressure Cause Vertigo

The association between fluctuations in barometric pressure and dizziness, in particular in individuals suffering from migraine-related vertigo and Meniere’s disease, has been noted in the medical literature. However many cases of apparent atmospheric pressure influence on dizziness does not show any other associated factor such as head motion or not, and so cannot be attributed to actual barometric pressure changes.

Studies have shown that low barometric pressures are related to increased frequency of migraine headaches and decreased barometric pressure is related to increased frequency of vision problems for those with existing eye conditions. There are also reports of reduced oxygen levels in blood vessels serving the brain being related to lower barometric pressures.

It is thought that these pressure changes may cause some kind of disturbance to the balance mechanism of the inner ear, resulting in feelings of dizziness and instability. However, since atmospheric pressure changes also affect people who are not affected by dizziness, this alone cannot explain all cases of barometric pressure induced dizziness.

There have been reports of successful treatment of barometric pressure induced dizziness with propranolol, a beta-adrenergic blocking agent. However, since most cases of migraine-related vertigo are actually caused by other factors rather than atmospheric pressure, treatment with medications known to reduce the severity of migraine attacks should be used instead.

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Changes In Barometric Pressure Affects Pain

Not only do changes in barometric pressure cause storms to bubble up across the radar, but it actually can change your blood pressure and increase joint pain. While this may be further impacted by precipitation and changes in temperature, there is something to be said about the way atmospheric pressure impacts our bodies.

According to Mother Nature Network, changes in barometric pressure may cause the following health issues:

Can High Pressure Weather Cause Headaches

Pain and Weather. Does change in Barometric Pressure cause Pain?

Bad weather If youre prone to getting headaches, you could find that grey skies, high humidity, rising temperatures and storms can all bring on head pain. Pressure changes that cause weather changes are thought to trigger chemical and electrical changes in the brain. This irritates nerves, leading to a headache.

Recommended Reading: Foods To Eat For Headaches

What Causes These Migraines

As the barometric pressure outside lowers, it causes a difference in pressure in your sinuses versus pressure in the outside air. This a reason why pain may develop in your head. This can be compared to what happens when you are on an airplane. As the plane takes off, the pressure changes as the altitude changes, and you may notice your ear popping or pain from that change in pressure.

Does High Barometric Pressure Cause Headaches

Several studies have suggested that changes in weather, and especially changes in pressure, increase the likelihood of having a headache. Some people experience high-altitude headaches due to changes in barometric pressure, such as during plane travel.


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What Does That Have To Do With My Sinuses

These changes in the atmosphere’s weight can impact more than just the weather. Here’s what that means for your sinuses. Our sinuses are filled with air, and the pressure in those sinuses is no longer at equilibrium with the pressure outside of the body when the barometric pressure changes. This difference in pressure is what causes sinus pressure and sinus headaches, which can be exacerbated by an existing sinus infection, allergies, congestion, or other sinus issues. When the atmospheric pressure drops, it can also cause lower blood pressure, which can result in dizziness, blurred vision, and fatigue in some cases. This “perfect storm” of circumstances and symptoms can make it hard to go about your day and even keep you from getting out of bed if the symptoms are bad enough.

At Ashford Clinic, we can help with all of your ENT issues like sinus infections, allergies, and more. Give us call to learn more or to schedule an appointment.

Barometric Pressure Headache Symptoms

Migraine Barometric Pressure Map

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.

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:

  • Alcohol

Can You Feel Weather Symptoms In Your Bones Or In Your Head Discover 4 Ways High

Can you feel a storm coming a mile away? Have you been told you’re a human barometer who can sense changes in barometric pressure? You’re not crazy and you’re not alone. It is possible to feel that storm coming “in your bones” or in your head.

“Barometric pressure is atmospheric pressure, the weight of the atmosphere,” said Cynthia Armand, MD, an assistant professor of neurology at Montefiore-Einstein and the fellowship director at the Montefiore Headache Center in New York, during a Facebook Live chat hosted by the American Migraine Foundation. “It signals and lets us know what’s going on.

“Barometric pressure changes affect our bodies in a handful of ways. Some people may be more sensitive to weather changes than others, like people with migraine or arthritis.

“If there’s a fall in barometric pressure, that means a storm or some kind of weather change is coming,” Dr. Armand said.

It’s difficult to say the barometric pressure is solely responsible for extra aches, though. Weather shifts and storms come with other changes like temperature swings, rain or snow, and changes in the wind.

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 To Treat Barometric Pressure Migraine

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

The weather shifts and BAM! A migraine hits. Now what?

People can experience migraine attacks differently, so treatment is generally based on your unique symptoms. Most folks tend to reach for an over-the-counter remedy, while others need the added oomph of prescription meds.

Popular OTC meds for migraine relief include:

  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen
  • acetaminophen

Does Barometric Pressure Affect Sinuses

Shifts in barometric pressure can also trigger pain and discomfort for those with sinusitis. This can result in sudden, painful feeling of pressure, sinus headaches, and facial pain, along with congestion. When such symptoms linger, the sinuses can become inflamed and blocked, which can lead to infection.

How Can I Get Rid Of A Barometric Pressure Headache

Soothing symptoms depends on each individual someone who drinks, say, barely a bottle of water a day will suffer more than someone who drinks 2L, for example but there are a few things Dr Chris recommends.

  • Pain relief. Popping standard over the counter paracetamol can do the trick. Be sure to stick to the recommended dosage. If this doesnt work, a registered GP may be able to prescribe you triptans a stronger form of painkiller to tide you over.
  • Stay hydrated. Down at least 2-3L of H2O per day to limit pain. If you dont get enough fluid, your brain temporarily contracts, which is where the aching comes from, but as soon as youre fully aboard the hydration station, your brain will return to its usual state.
  • Try not to miss meals. Your blood sugar levels plummet if you havent had any food for a while, which then causes your body to release the hormones that tell your body its hungry. These hormones increase your blood pressure and tighten your blood vessels, which materialises as a headache. Make sure youre fuelling up at breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Stay active. Dr Chris tells us regular exercise can also help ease symptoms of a barometric pressure headache. The biology behind this one is simple: when you exercise, you release endorphins , which are also the bodys natural painkillers and therefore work to put paid to a sore head.
  • Can Weather Cause Headaches

    Short answer: Yes.

    “Many patients, nearly half of mine, will report that changes in weather affect their headaches,” Dr. Klenofsky says. “The literature also reports weather as a migraine trigger anywhere from 50 to 70 percent of the time.”

    That’s because people are affected by barometric pressure changes, light, temperature and humidity, Dr. Klenofsky says. Consequently, certain weather conditions that involve these variables â like rain, for example â can spark a headache. Here’s how:

    Adopt Healthy Lifestyle Habits

    barometric pressure sensor

    Developing healthy lifestyle habits can be helpful for mitigating barometric pressure headaches . For example, proper nutrition and regular exercise help build a strong immune system, which can stave off sickness when the weather shifts, Dr. Klenofsky says.

    Similarly, keeping a consistent sleep schedule can reduce your migraine risk, as sleep deprivation has been linked to a higher incidence of headaches, per the Cleveland Clinic.


    Trying relaxation techniques before bed and sleeping in a dark, cool and quiet room may also help you get some solid shut-eye.

    Ways To Weather Barometric Pressure Migraines

    When I was a child, I can remember my grandmother saying she knew when a storm was coming because her arthritis would always start hurting. Fast-forward 30 years, and here I am, a 40-year-old woman who can tell if a change in the weather is going to occur within 300 miles of wherever I am located. I havent always been affected by barometric pressure changes. Growing up in the southeast of the United States, its common to have very crazy weather patterns. It hadnt been until my husband and I moved from Oregon to North Carolina that I noticed a major difference in my migraine attacks in correlation to drastic increases or decreases in the barometric pressure.

    Barometric pressure can be simply defined as the air pressure within the atmosphere. A sharp change in this pressure can exacerbate some conditions, with headaches or migraine attacks being one of them. According to a NY Times article, which interviewed Dr. Matthew Fink of New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center:

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    Differences in air pressure because of the weather or changes in altitude can have noticeable effects on the human body, though some people are more sensitive than others. Low barometric pressure can cause headaches by creating a pressure difference between the surrounding atmosphere and the sinuses, which are filled with air.

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    5. Ask for help.

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