Dear headache month: please don’t show up this year.

Historically, April is a notoriously vicious month when it comes to my migraines. I live in Georgia, and the pollen count is OUT OF CONTROL. It’ll rain, and an hour after the sun comes back out, your car is already coated in a fine layer of yellow-green dust. When my sister and I go for walks together, we can feel the pollen catching in our throats and threatening to clog our sinuses. I just did a search for “pollen” on my blog and was surprised to see that I have mentioned pollen-migraine issues a great deal over the last few years—I hadn’t realized that! If you want to read more about my complicated relationship with pollen, here are some old entries:

/blog/im-on-the-verge/

/blog/third-times-a-charm-not-so-much/

/blog/tired-of-being-tired/

/blog/what-gives/

/blog/an-atypical-saturday/

/blog/fifth-times-a-charm-right/

 

Allergies aren’t the only culprit here. The rapidly-changing weather systems seem to be quite remarkable in Georgia springtime. Yesterday afternoon, the sky was a clear, bright blue. By midnight, we had raucous storms and power outages as the rain came pounding down—parts of the state were even hit by hail. By the time I got out of bed at 8:30, the sky was perfectly clear again, not a cloud to be seen. Miraculously, I didn’t have a migraine last night or this morning.

A couple of years ago I was talking to my complementary care doctor and he asked about my migraine patterns. I told him how early spring and early fall were especially terrible times. He corroborated this finding, saying that scientific studies have shown that various illnesses are often at their worst during April and September. I don’t remember his exact phrasing, but he did mention that bipolar disorder is one of many ailments that seems to reach its peak in April and September. Interesting.


Once I began to understand how the weather holds power over my health, I tried to develop ways to be ready for the triggers.

Mediclim can be quite helpful if you have weather-related ailments (including migraine disease). In fact, I got my Mediclim migraine alert yesterday morning and wondered what the deal was—after all, the weather was perfect and there were no clouds in the sky! Getting the email prompted me to look up the weather, which of course showed that severe thunderstorms and a possible tornado would be moving into the area after nightfall. When I know the weather is going to change, I am extra-careful not to deplete my own resources. I don’t drink often, but I make sure to abstain on days when the weather is crazy. I (try to) make sure to eat well and exercise to build up my resistance against the migraine train.

Here on Migraine.com there’s been some talk about weather-related migraine.

What do you think? I know that it took me many years to even realize that the weather was affecting my headache cycle (thank you, headache diary). What do you do to cope with weather- or allergy-related migraine?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Migraine.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

View Comments (20)
  • Beth
    4 years ago

    OMG!! Weather is a big trigger for me!! Last week I was so sick with a horrible migraine. Started with waking me up. Took a Fiorcet and it helped until early evening. Then bang!! Skyrocketed to a 9!! I was so sick. Took a Maxalt and a anti nausea pill. Had a tornado warning. I’m so happy to read that I’m not the only one who’s dealing with this!

  • Sara
    4 years ago

    This is my hell month too. I had a nerve block today, starting iv 5 days of infusions tomorrow, and hopefully back to work, but going to the allergist/immunologist in a couple weeks.

  • mccluresm
    6 years ago

    hmm thats funny i’ve never heard of other migraine buddies using ben-gay but I’ve always used tiger balm or kwan-loong oil, a Chinese oil that has menthol and eucalyptus so I imagine its much the same, odd how it seems it helps for some reason

  • mccluresm
    6 years ago

    My migraines are almost always on overcast, muggy days in warm weather when it feels like there is a lot of heavy pressure in the air. Took me years to realize it but thats seems to be my biggest trigger, whereas my mother has hers with her monthly cycle, seemingly regardless of weather.

  • Carol D. Marsh
    8 years ago

    Sad to say it is helpful to hear that other women have heads that predict the weather, too. I first discovered the weather/migraine link when my husband one day warned me that a storm system was approaching – he’d noticed the connection before I ever did. I was too busy being in pain, I guess. I have many practices that manage pain, such as meditation, deep relaxation, exercise, etc., but honestly cannot say that the pain is lessened because of them. However, these practices do make a big difference for me spiritually, and that helps to make the pain seem less invasive.

  • Julia Hugo Rachel
    8 years ago

    I stay away fro sugar, wheat and dairy. I have Viruses and infectious pathogens which also cause headachs, so we monitor these. (HHV-6, CMV, EBV, XMRV Virurses…plus pathogens sichs a micoplasma Pnuemoniae and Chlamydia pnuenmoniae) as well as other bacterial infections. Hormones can play a part in migraines…the weather…allergies…but 85% are viral in nature or bacterial. If you have a history (Uterine tract Infections, Bladder, kidney, yeast, etc) and this continues….with fever and headaches…PLEASE get checked for Group B Strep (Diff than group A strep). This can be an issue in pregnant women as well as immunocompomised adult women and men. Keep Informed!

  • Amy Faith
    7 years ago

    I’ve been looking for a post like yours. Thanks! I have atypical migraines. No headaches at all until I contacted Giardia, and C. Difficile that went misdiagnosed for years. Now years and years later I suffer from fibromyalgia and migraines (a horrid combo for pain) and feel certain it’s due to bad dysbiosis in my intestines. I think this might be a real issue in some with migraines, due to my experience. I am looking at a new procedure that might cure the dysbiosis and thus migraines. I would love to chat with you and anyone else that feels this is a very vital clue in curing or helping their migraines.

  • Stephanie Martinovich Frederick
    8 years ago

    I am so glad I am not the only one who dreads spring and fall because of its migraine triggers. It seems the temp changes really affect mine. One day it is 70 and sunny the next it is 50 dreary and cold too much for my poor head to handle. I wish there was a way to deal with it. I have found though that if I take Zyrtec allergy med on a daily basis it helps with the migraines that used to be triggered by the smell of perfumes and laundry detergents( I used to dread walking down the laundry ailse at shop rite!) It has also helped lessen the intensity of the ones that are triggered by food such as those processed with msg or potatoes. I have been taking it every day for about two years now and it’s not a cure, but it certainly helps.

  • Adele Schlazer Lester
    8 years ago

    I’m also bothered by the smell of laundry detergents. Having to buy new carpeting is even worse — the smell causes a major headache…

  • Mandy Schroeder Caines
    8 years ago

    I have suffered from migraines since I was little. Weather and certain foods trigger mine. MSG is a “Big NO NO!” Red Wines also.. Any kind of diet foods or drinks..I can always tell when the weather is changing, I get a headache until it passes. I take meds. to help before one, but most of the time, it don’t work..

  • Barbra Priester Pope
    8 years ago

    ty for posting this

  • Janis Nilson
    8 years ago

    I often wondered about moving to a non humid climate like Arizona. I am in Buffalo, NY….yes, need I say more? at least 4 out of 7 days are filled with horrible migraines, and yet the neurologists (god love em’) cant cure it, or even figure it out. It is SOOOO frustrating.

  • Tonia Mcintosh
    8 years ago

    i hear you girl, but nope imitrex did nothing for me at all, except make me mad. like i said this last migraine i got was so different, the pain was so much worse i literally jst wanted to bang my head in the wall and knock myself out. and i really do not look forward to this summer at all. I try to stay in the house as much as possible b/c I know what going out is gonna do to me, all the different scents and odors if you know what i mean? lol… the weather is just starting to break now, here in the city. So i’m getting prepared for it now, but honestly how do we prepare? But i do know what you mean about drilling a hole in your head, anything to ease the pain. And if all it takes is menopause to get rid of things, THEN BRING IT ON!!!! I’M READY NOW. LOL…the funny thing is everyone i talk to says they’re parents or grandparents had them, no one in my family ever suffered from headaches at all, let alone migraines. But my daughter just recently told me she gets real bad headaches, I don’t know if there migraines or not. It just gives me something to think about, where did i get them from?

  • Cindy Maisonneuve Langilotti
    8 years ago

    yes that is a very accurate description… i have often said that i wish someone would drill a hole right above my eye and relieve some pain…lol i know that sounds silly. it’s odd that treximet helped you but imitrex didn’t. they both work for me and fiorcet never even touched it. i get them more in the fall and spring but have been known to have them anytime of the year. my mother and grandmother both had them and they said when they went through menopause they quit having them….kinda makes getting old a little easier to accept and something to look forward to…lol

  • Tonia Mcintosh
    8 years ago

    Hi cindy, yours seem to sound like mine except mine begins in my left eye and them it continues to the top and back of the left side. I can describe how mine feels, it maybe an accurate description for yours as well. well here goes: it feels like someone is drilling in my left eye, while someone is beating me in the head with a louieville slugger. Is that accurate? But for some reason the imitex never worked for me, the only thing that helped me for a long, long time was fiorcet, then a couple months ago it just didn’t work anymore and thats b/c the migraine changed this one lasted for 6wks. I never experienced anything like that in my life my head was sore to the touch, and the only thing that took the pain away was treximet. and it was strange to me b/c my migraine never came in the winter i only got them in the summr time. All summer i would suffer and god forbid if i had to ride the trains all the different smells. loud perfumes omg!!!!

  • Leda Hiatt
    8 years ago

    Yepp you get them in arizona too. Plus we have monsoon season in August where we get pretty severe and random storms which are never fun for migraines.

  • Cindy Maisonneuve Langilotti
    8 years ago

    You seem to try the same approach that i use. i love BenGay, icy hot etc on my neck during a migraine. if anything it will help me sleep. another thing that i have noticed is if i have nausea during a headache then phenagren…(not sure if i spelled it correctly) will usually help me sleep off the headache. i take imitrex ( generic form, much cheaper) and as soon as the pill wears off the headache is back. so i have to take another pill. this cycle will last anywhere from 2 to 4 days. the imitrex atleast knocks the edge off so i can function normally. i can’t afford to take off work 2 to 4 days everytime i get a migraine! i have always said ” i wish it would just rain and get it over with!” then the pain subsides. mine always begins right above my left eye and then moves to the top and back of my head and in my face. someone once tried to get me to explain how the pain feels and all i could come up with is like a major leg cramp that doesn’t quit for 2 to 4 days. horrible!

  • Maria Gogan
    8 years ago

    You’ll get them in AZ too. I’m from there and I had them sooo severe, I was throwing up and not even able to take my kids to school. Imitrex, Sudafed 12 hr and BenGay combined with cold wash cloth and sleep are the only thing that helps, sometimes it doesn’t, but mostly that’s the key.

  • Kim Kj Wyatt
    8 years ago

    I have the same issue in Missouri and when I was in Texas-changing weather patterns knocks me completely out of the running for a regular life. The neurologists couldn’t figure out what is causing the migraines and why the medicines they kept putting me on don’t work.

  • Diana Lee
    8 years ago

    Sometimes I find it helpful to minimize triggers within my control when I feel a weather change coming on. But those weather-related triggers are really hard to deal with.

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