Dark clouds and nasty weather doesn’t have t mean a nasty migraine. For some, an approaching storm signals arrival of another raging migraine attack. In fact, some people with migraine say they are human barometers, and can predict a storm much before the weatherman. Can you?
According to a study by University of Cincinnati in 2014, there was a 37 percent increased risk of headache and 24 percent increase risk of migraine attacks for chronic headache sufferers on days lighting stuck within 20 miles of study participant’s homes. Also, some Japanese university researchers found that 67 percent of the patients they tracked through a year of storms experienced migraines when barometric pressures dropped.
What Are Weather Related Migraines?
According to International Headache Society, there are seven weather related migraine triggers:
- High humidity
- Temperature changes
- High winds
- Barometric pressure changes
- Extremely dry conditions
- Stormy weather
- Bright lights and sun glare
In some people, weather changes may cause serious imbalances in vital brain chemicals, including serotonin, which can cause a migraine attack. Sometimes exposure to weather-related migraine triggers can worsen a headache initially caused due to other triggers.
What’s The Reason For Weather Triggers Migraines?
Extremely dry conditions and high humidity exacerbate dehydration, one of the most common and easily preventable triggers. Sun glare and bright lights activate a condition (photophobia)-also referred to as painful sensitivity to light- among many with migraine.
Why barometric pressure and lighting so dramatically affect headaches isn’t completely understood. Dr. Jane Radford, DDS, the director for special program for orofacial pain and headache at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, offers an explanation: “Sometimes sudden barometric changes in pressure may affect pressure inside brain or the way brain blocks pain signals, but the mechanism is still not clear. What’s clear is that, cloudy, overcast and rainy days lead to more migraine attacks,” he said.
As for lighting, some researchers believe it could be related to some electromagnetic waves emitted from lighting or the simultaneous release of fungal spores that might lead to an attack. More study is needed.
If you feel that’s your story too, we are providing valuable tips that can help you handle the situation and weather the next thundercloud before it bursts right inside your head.
Valuable Tips to Successfully Avoid Your Next Brain Storm
- It’s Best To Stay Indoors – While it won’t avert barometric pressure or electromagnetic waves, it will definitely help you manage sudden exposure to bright light, high humidity and extreme temperatures.
- Drink Up – Did you know extremely dry weather and high humidity can be easily managed with better hydration. It’s much more than drinking just plain water. You can take juices, shakes, smoothies and many other variations to add color to your life.
- Invest in New Specs – Even when you decide to stay indoors, bright lights can still aggravate your situation. Block outdoor glare and indoor lights with Migraine Glasses using a special tint called FL-41 available from Axon Optics. Yes, it’s possible to wear shades to the supermarket and look like a famous rock star.
- Buy A Barometer – If you’re not an avid traveler, you can buy a barometer for your workplace or home. These days, you can find many barometers for your desk or walls.
- Expect the Unexpected – You can find an exciting new feature on AccuWeather.com. It’s called The Migraine Forecast. It’s highly accurate.
- Limit Your Other Triggers – Once you’re sure that a storm is underway or on its way, the key is to avoid a weather related migraine attack by limiting your exposure to triggers. Avoid negative or positive stress, avoid any drink or food triggers, guard your sleep, ensure you do your workouts regularly and practice the best possible prevention protocol.
- Monitor Anytime, Anywhere – This is important. You can try app called “A Barometer for iPhone”. It has been created by Gaetan Juvin and can read exact pressure at your place. Unlike other weather apps, it does not report city wide prediction. However, you need to remember to check it.
- If All Else Fails, Move – If you feel your chronic migraine is ruining your life and you can get better control of it by moving, do that! However, before doing that discover the best and worst places in the United States for migraineurs. Could it be a coincidence that the city with Migrainenet’s biggest audience is in rainy London?
Regularly track the weather of your area as you track your migraines. See if it’s trigger for you. If you feel it is, start forecasting, so you can suitably adjust your exposure to triggers that can be easily controlled.