The theory goes that headache pain would cause someone to seek a safer, more hospitable environment. The fact that changes in weather and extremes in heat and cold cause headache, some experts believe, gives credence to this theory.
They then were asked to rank them in terms of what commonly brought on their migraines and other headaches. Three out of every four respondents said that weather triggered their headache pain.
Weather or barometric pressure changes: 73% Intense odors: 64% Bright or flickering lights: 59% Smoke: 53% Extreme heat or cold: 38% Altitude changes: 31% High winds: 18% They also said they'd stayed away from places likely to have smoke in the air, such as restaurants or bars.
As noted earlier, there is a theory that headaches triggered by extreme weather are a protective, or defensive, response because they lead the person to seek a more hospitable environment. Experts believe that people who get frequent headaches have a greater sensitivity to changes in the environment.
The reason, they suspect, is that people who get migraine headaches have likely inherited this sensitivity. The survey cited earlier also found that two out of three headache sufferers had not discussed environmental triggers with their doctors.
Some people have clear signs that a migraine headache is coming. These early warning signs are called “proposal,” meaning precursory.
Irritability Depression Frequent yawning Feeling especially excitable Keep a detailed diary for three months to allow the variable patterns of your headaches to show up.
Your headache symptoms: where you feel the pain, what the pain feels like, and any other symptoms, such as vomiting or sensitivity to noise, smells, or bright light The time your headache started and ended Any food and beverages you had (common triggers include chocolate, caffeine, and foods with the preservatives MSG and nitrates) Any changes in the weather, such as storms, high winds, or high humidity Any treatment you tried, and whether it helped or made the headache worse Some experts believe that people link their headaches to weather more than is actually true.
If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. If it seems like your headaches come on during or after changes in the weather, start paying closer attention.
Nausea and vomiting increased sensitivity to light numbness in the face and neck pain in one or both temples A study in Japan looked at the sales of loxoprofen, a headache medicine.
Researchers saw a connection between an increase in medication sales and changes to barometric pressure. From this, the researchers concluded that a decrease in barometric pressure causes an increase in the incidence of headaches.
In a study published in 2015, researchers looked at the effects of barometric pressure on people with chronic migraines. The researchers found that even small decreases in barometric pressure induced migraines.
In that study, 28 people with a history of migraine kept a headache journal for one year. If you suspect that your headaches are related to the weather changes, let your doctor know about this pattern.
In an older migraine study from 2004, 39 out of 77 participants were sensitive to weather changes, such as barometric pressure. That’s why it’s important to keep track of your symptoms and report any changes or patterns to your doctor.
There’s no specific test to diagnose barometric headaches, so it’s important to give your doctor as much information as possible. Your doctor will ask about your past medical history, as well as any family members who experience chronic headaches or migraines.
Neurologic exam blood tests MRI CT scan lumbar puncture Opioids can be addictive, so it’s important to use them, and all other medications, as directed by your doctor.
In severe cases, Botox injections or nerve decompression surgery may be recommended. The sooner you recognize the headache coming on, the faster you can treat or prevent it.
You may notice head pain or other symptoms, like ringing in your ears, aura, or nausea. Some people who have migraines appear to be more sensitive to changes in the weather.
Bright sunlight Extreme heat or cold Sun glare High humidity Dry air Windy or stormy weather Barometric pressure changes For some people, weather changes may cause imbalances in brain chemicals, including serotonin, which can prompt a migraine.
Keeping a headache diary, listing each migraine, when it happened, how long it lasted and what could have caused it. For example, stay indoors during very cold or windy weather if these factors appear to trigger your migraines.
Examination of fluctuations in atmospheric pressure related to migraine. Some people experience high-altitude headaches due to changes in barometric pressure, such as during plane travel.
Meanwhile, a 2017 study found there may be a link between atmospheric pressure and the severity of migraine pain. The same year, a review pointed out that investigations into the link between weather and the occurrence of migraine headaches have arrived at mixed results.
Headaches can occur when pressure changes affect the small, confined, air-filled systems in the body, such as those in the ears or the sinuses. Regarding changes in barometric pressure, theories about the link with headaches involve the constriction of blood vessels, insufficient oxygen, or the over excitement of areas of the brain that produce pain.
A doctor may prescribe other or additional treatments, depending on a person’s specific symptoms. A person can take some steps at home to reduce headaches and other migraine symptoms.
Various products developed to reduce migraine, headaches, and stress are available for purchase online. When a weather front passes through, changes in the air pressure can cause sinus or ear pain.
In this season of viral upper-respiratory infections, swelling in the sinuses might be hard to avoid. Even a small amount of swelling can result in pain, said Dr. William Collins, an assistant professor and chief of pediatric otolaryngology in the University of Florida College of Medicine.
In other cases, patients might be sensitive to changes in the weather and might get rebound swelling in the sinuses and membranes of the nose. Collins recommends using nasal saline irrigation and/or a humidifier at home during cold, dry weather to help your nose warm, humidify and filter the air during the current cold, dry weather.
The weather also can trigger migraine headaches, caused by constriction or dilation of the blood vessels in the brain. You’ll usually feel migraine pain on one side of the face or head.