Migraines and Weather Changes: Are They Really Connected?

When migraines hit, they are nothing to mess around with. The pain can be so severe that you are forced to lie down in a cool, dark room until the pain subsides. If you suffer from migraines, you may feel as if you cannot plan anything because you never know when the next headache will hit. This can cause you to have a decrease in your life quality and feel as if you are not living life to the fullest.

Some people can tell if the weather is about to change because they claim they get a migraine just before or at the same time. However, is this true? If you notice this taking place, you may find the following information very interesting. After taking a closer look at how weather affects migraines, we will discuss what can be done about them to alleviate the pain.

The truth is, barometric pressure may be to blame. Barometric pressure is the amount of force being applied to your body due to the air around you. Our sinuses are filled with air. This makes them sensitive to any change in air pressure and can bring on headaches or migraines.

What Are the Symptoms of Weather Migraines?

These headaches or migraines come about due to a drop in barometric pressure. Often, they feel like regular headaches or migraines. However, you may have some additional symptoms:

  • Pain in one or both temples
  • Numbness in the neck and face
  • An increased sensitivity to light
  • Nausea and vomiting

If you regularly have these symptoms when it is rainy or humid, you may be a victim of barometric migraines.

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.

The Proof Barometric Pressure Changes Cause Migraines

A study was done in Japan that observed the sale of a popular headache remedy called loxoprofen. Researchers saw a correlation between an increase in the sale of this medicine and changes in barometric pressure. This led to the conclusion that barometric pressure does indeed cause an increase in the incidence of migraines.

Interestingly, the change does not have to be dramatic to cause migraines. In 2015, researchers looked at how barometric pressure affected people with chronic migraines (migraines that occur more than 15 days in a month’s time). Even a small decrease in barometric pressure was noted to induce migraines.

In another study from Japan, 28 people with a history of migraines were asked to keep a headache journal for a year. Migraines occurred more often on days when the barometric pressure was lowered by 5 hectopascals (hPa) than the day before. The opposite was also true. Migraine frequency dropped on days when the barometric pressure reached 5 hPa or higher the previous day.

Taking Preventative Steps for Weather Headaches

It is important for you to be aware of your headache patterns. The sooner you recognize when and in relation to what you have headaches, then you can work to prevent them. You may notice some symptoms come on before a migraine actually hits. This can alert you to what is about to happen. You may notice ringing in your ears, visual disturbances, or nausea.

You may want to try the following suggestions for overall health and to help migraines.

  • Eat regular, healthy meals and do not skip meals (thus avoiding low blood sugar events).
  • Drink at least 8 glasses of water each day.
  • Try to manage your stress and use breathing exercises or other relaxation techniques.
  • Exercise most days of the week.
  • Get between 7 and 8 hours of rest per night.

Since it’s impossible to control the weather, you may be able to, in part, control your migraines by practicing daily routines that are good for your health. This can reduce the impact of migraines on your daily life.

A Migraine Diary

It is a good idea to keep a migraine diary. This is a way to track what your individual triggers are. If you suspect you are having barometric pressure headaches, you will be able to tell by keeping a migraine diary. What kind of things should you keep track of?

  • What you ate before the onset of your migraine
  • Weather conditions
  • What you were doing at the time the migraine happened
  • Environmental factors — bright lights, changes in temperature, stressors
  • If you skipped any meals
  • How much and what kind of exercise you did

By keeping a list of these things, you will be able to see a pattern developing that may help you avoid what is causing problems in the future.

Relief for Migraines

If you are having migraines, no matter the source or trigger, you may find some relief by visiting an upper cervical chiropractor. A link has been established between migraines and a misaligned bone in the top of the neck. A misalignment in either the C1 or C2 vertebra can hinder the flow of blood to and from the brain. It can also put stress on the brainstem, causing it to send improper signals to the brain. Either of these can lead to migraines.

Upper cervical chiropractors have been trained to find the tiny misalignments that may be to blame. They use a gentle method to encourage the bones of the neck to move back into place naturally. This is often all that is needed to experience relief from the head-pounding pain of migraines.

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