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Should the Weather Forecast Include a Migraine Alert?

A change in the weather has often been mentioned by migraine sufferers as a possible cause for the onset of their headache symptoms. Since the correlation between headache symptoms and an individual perception of the weather is often subjective and may vary from person to person, available medical studies evaluating this connection have been limited and often presented with contradictory results. Studies have evaluated possible reasons for migraines triggered by the weather including changing temperatures, degree of sunshine on a given day and of course, pressure changes in the atmosphere. Recently, researchers in Austria studied 238 people suffering from migraine with or without aura by asking them to keep a headache diary while they measured weather patterns and specific weather situations in an attempt to correlate the weather with the symptoms they recorded over a 3 month period. All of the participants in this particular study had to live within close proximity to the same weather station in order to make their group ‘weather experience’ as similar as possible.

Study Findings
Initially, researchers thought they saw a modest correlation with incidence of migraine and changes in the weather, such as wind speed, sunshine duration and high pressure in the atmosphere. However, these findings were not statistically significant, and could not be proven to be conclusively caused by the changes in the weather.

Because migraine patients were asked to keep track of weather and symptoms in their journals, researchers were also able to analyze participants’ perception of weather. It was found that perceptions regarding weather were often inconsistent with the actual meteorological data. Researchers believe this may be because people may be more aware of weather, particularly bad weather, when they are suffering from symptoms.

Implications for Migraine Management
Migraine sufferers often point to certain migraine triggers that they have come to associate with the onset of their migraine. In addition to weather changes, these include stress, hormone changes in women, lack of food or sleep and light exposure among others. In contrast to weather however, which is not something that can be prevented or changed, a focus on other possible triggers that can be impacted by behavior change is especially important. While the jury might still be out on a definitive correlation between weather and migraine, the use of a headache diary is especially important in helping patients to identify other possible and preventable triggers. Further study will be necessary to help us understand whether or not weather has a true and measurable impact on migraine incidence.

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

  • Diane Janowski
    8 years ago

    My migraines usually don’t have to do with the barometric pressure where I am, but they do coincide with a barometric change within 800 miles – worst with hurricanes and nor’easters.

  • Deb Davis Hudak
    8 years ago

    IF ANYONE OUT there knows of a decent portable weather station that helps them know when a change in pressure is coming on, let me KNOW! thanks!

  • GodsGirl IsReal
    8 years ago

    I think the migraine alerts r helpful.

  • Ryan Chase
    8 years ago

    Drowsiness and/or tissue pain on the onset of rapid barometric pressure drops is a sign of immune related inflammation of membranes mediating gas transport.
    Inflammation isolates tissue by cell swelling on the protien tissue skeleton. Barometric pressure changes further locks the dam. I recommend a food sensitive elimination diet. MOST doctors will not advise on treatment free cures. 3 Days of a immune clean diet will nearly eliminate all such symptoms. Some fish have good slime, some need tropical water.

  • Rochelle RoRo Brown
    8 years ago

    thanks Trish I’m going to check that out much needed.

  • Trish Blackwell Hughes
    9 years ago

    accuweather.com has migraine alerts.

  • Ellen Schnakenberg
    9 years ago

    Hi dblmintwin – welcome to Migraine.com 🙂

    You might be interested in a useful site called Mediclim.com http://bit.ly/hTPlhd This site is a free subscription that will send you alerts based on your health condition and the weather in your location. I subscribe to the service. Honestly, I have several health issues and subscribe to multiple health conditions there. I have found the I am more likely to have Migraine problems when I receive an alert for heart conditions than I am Migraine though. I am not sure why that is, but I don’t argue with it, I just read the alert and use it as another quick and easy tool that might help me predict problems as I go through my week.

    The conditions currently available for subscription include:

    MIGRAINE, HEART DISEASE, ASTHMA, ARTHRITIS, DIABETES and C.O.P.D.

    Let me know what you think!

    Ellen

  • vitamin_migraine
    4 years ago

    Yes, I was wondering about that. Migraine alert says all is good but arthritis alert says it’s terrible and lo and behold I have a severe migraine which feels weather related judging by the wind/rain/temperature drop. What gives??

  • dblmintwin
    9 years ago

    I think it should. I know weather and season changes cause me serious migraines. Plus, I was just allergy tested and found out I am allergic to a ton of things, which weather can exacerbate.

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