Do you suffer from migraines? The weather may not be helping

Do you suffer from migraines? The weather may not be helping
People who suffer from migraines may feel worse as weather patterns change rapidly. (Source: Pixabay)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - We can see it all in a matter of days -- one day snow, the next day it’s 70 degrees in February.

There are plenty of jokes about Kentucky weather, but it’s not funny to some.

For people who get migraines, the weather fluctuations are no laughing matter. Norton Healthcare said while studies have not found a direct link between weather changes and headache or migraine attacks, the American Migraine Foundation says more than one-third of people who experience migraines claim weather changes have a noticeable impact on their symptoms.

Norton Healthcare said one of the biggest culprits is barometric pressure.

A 2017 study established an association between atmospheric pressure and the amount of migraine pain a person experiences.

Dramatic weather swings usually cause changes in barometric pressure. A pressure difference between a person’s environment and the sinus cavities can increase the chance of headache and migraine. This pressure difference can lead to swollen sinuses, especially if the person already has congestion or blockage.

You may have noticed this pressure effect while flying. As a plane changes altitude during takeoff and the approach for landing, the air pressure changes and your ears may pop or you may experience head or ear pain.

There are things people can do to prevent migraines. Learning what triggers an attack can help. Unlike common triggers such as alcohol and certain foods, you can’t really avoid weather patterns.

“If a weather pattern is coming in that could trigger a migraine, take good care of yourself: Get extra sleep if you can, stay hydrated and avoid any other migraine triggers,” Dr. Brian Plato, neurologist with the Headache & Concussion Center, a part of Norton Neuroscience Institute, said. “You also can manage your schedule when the weather may be a problem for you. That way, you can be somewhere safe in case you become too fatigued or your migraine symptoms start.”

Other aspects of weather that may trigger migraine include:

  • Bright sunlight
  • Extreme heat or cold
  • Sun glare
  • High humidity
  • Dry air
  • Windy or stormy weather

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