Migraine and Weather: Heavy rains and headaches?

A wet, gloomy day can make us all feel a bit 'meh'. But for those with migraine, changes in the weather have been known to trigger attacks.
group of umbrellas viewed from below

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Ever looked up at a gloomy sky above and noticed that your headaches always seem to appear with certain weather conditions? You aren’t the only one. Nor is it just a coincidence. These headaches are known as barometric pressure headaches. They are a type of migraine attack triggered by environmental changes (like changes to pressure in the atmosphere).

Some theories purport headaches to be a mechanism that the body employs in order to protect itself against threats to the brain. It makes sense, therefore, that when conditions in the outside world change, the body takes action to shield itself against the elements. There might be bright sunlight and glare from the sun. Perhaps there have been extreme temperatures or stormy weather. For individuals who are extra-sensitive, these small changes have physiological effects. Unfortunately, these effects include the undesirable headache.

dark clouds above ocean
A poor weather forecast may be a way of predicting migraine attacks.

How does the weather affect migraine sufferers?

A survey by the National Headache Foundation found that 3 out of every 4 correspondents identified changes in the weather as a trigger of their migraine attacks. But how could a bright, sunny day or bellowing thunderstorm possibly cause headaches?

There is no straightforward answer. Some people, however, have put forward a few suggestions. For example, changes in the weather have been linked to changes in brain chemicals (for example, serotonin). This can cause imbalances which, in turn, may lead to a migraine attack. Some have identified more specific links between certain weather conditions and migraine. Scientists have noted that dusty environments, for example, may trigger migraine attacks associated with allergens.

Can I avoid weather-related headaches?

As we are all well aware, we cannot change the weather. Just as a miserable summer shower might disturb our plans for a lovely sunny picnic, so changes in environmental pressures may trigger a migraine attack. The best way to help prevent these headaches? Keeping as happy as healthy as possible! Stay hydrated, get enough rest, participate in exercise, and eat well. Not only will this help to alleviate the symptoms of a migraine attack, but it may also make any dull days that little bit brighter!


Migraine attacks: Are they triggered by weather changes?

Weather as a Headache and Migraine Trigger

Understanding Barometric Pressure Headaches: How Does Weather Affect Your Headaches?

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