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Migraine and Body Temperature Regulation

I’ve always had an odd symptom occurring with my migraine attacks relating to my body temperature. There are times when I would feel hot. This wasn’t like a fever but more like an extended hot flash. Other times I would feel cold and seemed to have a hard time getting my body to feel warm enough. It started me wondering if in fact, this was just another one of those weird migraine symptoms. My curiosity soon led me to the internet of course.

After reading through a few medical research papers and clinical papers my suspicions were confirmed. There were indeed cases of documented temperature variations related to migraine! I was glad to see I was not imagining the hot and cold sensations I was perceiving.

Using icepacks when my body is feeling hot

My body always seems to run hot. I’m one of those people who prefers the cold to hot weather. This is kind of ironic since I live in Florida where the average temperature for me seems to be set on broil especially in the summer months! That aside I do spend most of my time indoors due to migraine. During an attack I frequently reach for my trusty ice packs and head for the darkness of my bedroom. My head feels hot and I can suck the cold out of the icepacks pretty quickly.

Now I’ve not actually taken time to record my temperature, but the sensation I feel is definitely one of heat. It’s hard to wrap my head around sometimes, but even though my skin is like ice I’m like a furnace on the inside. In the articles, I read that body temperatures increased with the pain intensity of a migraine attack. The increases noted were about at the level of a low-grade fever. I found this quite interesting.

Some migraine attacks come with sensation of a cold

I never thought of hypothermia as a migraine symptom, but I knew several of my attacks came with a sensation of cold. I just could not warm up sometimes. I’d be sitting there actually shivering. I didn’t have a fever I was just experiencing a cold sensation right to my core. During these attacks, I would switch from ice packs to heat. I would be bundled up with blankets and retreat to my room. This symptom always freaked me out because it was so far from my norm. Needless to say, I was once again relieved to find cases of people suffering from migraine who also were experiencing hypothermia! I immediately felt validated after reading over the cases. I had found that my body temperature issues were not just in my head.

It’s good to know our migraine symptoms are not just in our heads

It’s far too often I think as migraineurs that we experience symptoms we feel are just our own. We feel they are just in our heads, but with the quirkiness of migraine, I have found that anything is possible. When I take the time to research migraine and its symptoms I always seem to find something I didn’t suspect. I knew that my body’s thermostat was getting messed with during an attack and I found evidence that supported just that. I may be crazy regarding other things in my life, but this time I know I was secure in my sanity if only for a moment! For those who are interested, the cases I read were found by googling migraine and temperature regulation.

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

  • Daria56
    4 days ago

    Related to this topic, extremes in environment temperatures can trigger migraines for me. Does anyone else experience this?

  • Picabo59
    2 weeks ago

    This has shown me that the sensation of having a fever but actually running a few degrees below normal. Other times I have the chills is part of my migraines. I have been having a lot of new symptoms lately so I guess it’s time for a doctor visit.

  • Malinda
    4 weeks ago

    I bring up the fact that I always feel like I am running a fever and I am not. We check my temperature because the 1 time we didn’t, I ended up having it checked in 4th grade and it was 104.5. I had bronchitis. I was born this way. My parents realized it when I was a couple of months old. I notice it in my nephews. The doctors always just brush it off. I have felt like I was going crazy for 40 years. I only feel cold when I am extremely sick or when I shaved my hair off to support my sister’s hair loss due chemo. Thank you for writing this

  • suni1956
    1 month ago

    Yes, I’ve had that hot/cold experience with migraine. If I am really warm and it’s a really cold day, I will open the sliders in the
    bedroom to stick my head out to cool it. Ice packs are very helpful. Sometimes my head will feel hot while my body feels cold. Most of migraine sufferers cannot really stand putting really hot water in the shower on their head. I keep it only warm for my head and then turn it to hot for my back which enjoys the heat. Strange to hear hte things we do we do… nice to know others have the same experiences.

  • Mumof3kidz
    1 month ago

    Thank you for addressing this strange issue with migraines. During my most recent migraine attack (day after Thanksgiving) I was hot/cold sometimes at the same time while dealing with the worst migraine of my life. When I know an attack is coming I can usually take my med and within 2 hours & then I’m functional with side-effects like dizziness. I’ve suffered from migraines since my late teens (35+ years) and have never heard of this combination. Thanks.

  • April.Sluder moderator
    1 month ago

    Thanks for sharing @Mumof3kidz. April – Migraine.com Team

  • Pego412
    2 months ago

    I have experienced both hot and cold. When cold I get chills and usually end up using a heating pad to get warm. I sometimes get a low grade temp between 99.0 and 99.7. I don’t need I’ve packs just a child’s cloth helps. The strangest hot/cold symptom I get is when it feels like someone has poured cold water over my head giving me chills. Your article was great. It’s always reassuring to know we are not alone in our symptoms.

  • April.Sluder moderator
    1 month ago

    Yes @Pego412, you’re so right. It’s helpful to know there are people who experienced some of the same things. Thanks so much for sharing. April – Migraine.com Team

  • JanetH
    2 months ago

    Grammar police here: last paragraph, should be “migraine and its symptoms.” Possessive form for it has no apostrophe.

  • Allyson.Ellis moderator
    2 months ago

    Thank you, JanetH! We’ll be sure to get that fixed! Wishing you a gentle day. ~Allyson (Migraine.com team)

  • Missy22
    2 months ago

    I get really, really hot. Rarely cold. There will be times that my entire body is sweating. Perspiration literally runs off of my body. I have multiple fans in my bedroom and different sizes of frozen gelpacks in my freezer.
    I keep a beanie in my freezer and stuff it with gelpacks when the headache is especially bad.

  • kelly banks
    2 months ago

    I’ve had hot flashes ever since I was pregnant with my son who is 14 now and I temper all my drs saying ur too young for those. Well I stopped saying it because I knew I was having them. And just like u when a bad migraine hit I have a wave of hot or cold and I remember going out into the driveway if it wasn’t sunny and especially at nighttime and using my cars heat or ac to make me feel better. Sometimes drs don’t know everything! Nice to know our weird migraine symptoms effect others too!

  • Krystolla
    2 months ago

    Interesting to know that it’s actually my body temperature changing and not just my perception of it. I’ve never seen a change in the thermometer during the few times I’ve checked during a migraine – I had one round of flu + migraine and I never want that again!

  • crisk
    2 months ago

    I have always wondered about this, as I have the strange body temperatures. Usually it is hot, suffocating, sweaty hot. However, once in a while it is the cold. Since my chronic migraine began following an accident when I was in my early forties, I chalked that symptom up to menopause. Now, 30 years later, it is still a problem, so I think I’m safe to say it is a migraine symptom. Thank you for sharing this. I agree, it always helpful to find other people have the same issues. Feels like we are a little less crazy!

  • Macbeck
    2 months ago

    I’ve gotten cold easily since I was a young child, at 70 degrees I’m grabbing for a sweater or sweatshirt. My face has gotten hot for many years as well, with people asking if I have a fever or if I’m feeling okay. I only related the temperature changes to the migraines in the last few years. This year I’ve been much colder – as I’m writing this it’s 72.5 F and I’m quite cold despite wearing a full set of sweats, but I can’t afford to turn my heat up further.
    As always, it’s nice for each of us to know we are not alone in our “weird & crazy” symptoms. Thank you for sharing!

  • jt24p6
    2 months ago

    The only thing that keeps me warm when I have a migraine is a heated foot warmer under the bottom sheet of my bed. I haven’t found one for sale recently, but you could try using a heated mattress pad.

  • April.Sluder moderator
    2 months ago

    I have one of those @jt24p6. It’s one of the best presents I’ve ever gotten. It always works when I can’t get warm. Thanks for sharing. April – Migraine.com Team

  • Crystalrz4
    2 months ago

    I have always had a problem with FREEZING when I have a migraine. I tend to drink hot tea or coffee (tho usually Tea), pile on the blankets and shiver while I wait for my Migraine Meds to kick in.
    This is NOT an easy life for those of us who have to live with condition!!!

  • Peggy Artman moderator
    2 months ago

    Crystalz4, thank you for sharing your migraine journey. I feel your frustration, because I go through the same thing. I get my heating pad out since my back usually hurts during a migraine attack too.
    Peggy (Migraine.com team)

  • mcadwell
    2 months ago

    I’m with you on the freezing. It could be July, and 90+ outside but I’ll feel like I’m standing in the arctic with no coat. No amount of hot drinks or electric blankets or heating pads can warm me up until the migraine starts calming down. In the meantime I’m shivering hard enough to make my body move which is no conducive to resting with a migraine and makes it last longer.

  • Peggy Artman moderator
    2 months ago

    mcadwell, I’m sorry to hear how hard it is to warm up with a migraine attack. I have this problem too and it is not easy. Keep in touch with us!
    Peggy (Migraine.com team)

  • Lynn Dion
    2 months ago

    This is familiar. I have had the experience of hot and cold ever since I began having migraine at age 13. The hot phase onset is at the tail end of the prodrome, and contains most of the malaise and nausea, as well as the most sickening aspects of the pain as it escalates. This switches after a short period, maybe up to an hour, to cold, sometimes rather abruptly. The cold, which can last for hours, permits sleep, and while the pain can remain intense, I can manage distancing my mind from it somewhat, in a way the hot stage never lets me do.

  • Peggy Artman moderator
    2 months ago

    Lynn Dion, it sounds like you have been really aware of how each phase of the migraine is going to feel like. I usually get cold at the beginning and by the end of the migraine attack I get hot. It’s good to know we all are not alone!
    Peggy (Migraine.com team)

  • WarriorWoman
    2 months ago

    I get a hot/ cold pattern then my fibromyalgia kicks up a lot. I’ve read and my doctor validated its the brain overload. Too many pain signals going to the brain causes the body a “ fight or flight” mode for lack of a better way to put it.
    My body sweats when I’m fighting pain or when the pain cycle is about to break. When it does, that’s when I get cold. In other words, as my pain is easing up, I get cold.
    I didn’t notice this so much when I was younger due to hormonal imbalance, now that I’m 60, I’m and have dealt with it since age 22, I’ve noticed the difference. Also, with Thyroid problems which is a hormone thing related to fibro, it’s all connected in fighting pain. Makes for a fun time.

  • Peggy Artman moderator
    2 months ago

    WarriorWoman, you seem so observant of each phase of your migraine attacks. I like what your doctor said about brain overload. Too much sensory stimuli at once is sure to bring on a migraine attack for me.
    Peggy (Migraine.com team)

  • sarahblankenship
    2 months ago

    I always say migraine causes my thermostat to malfunction. Hot flashes, chills, or both at once. It sucks, but just part of the joy of migraines.

  • Peggy Artman moderator
    2 months ago

    sarahblankenship, it sure is the “joy” we feel! Take care,
    Peggy (Migraine.com team)

  • mimi
    2 months ago

    I wear a chilly vest in the summer when it gets hot and a chilly scarf as well. In the winter I sit on the hear. Migraines with hot/cold are crazy. When I use to get hot flashes they would start a migraine and that would double the body heat! When I swim I can get really hot so I will get into an ice cold shower and not even feel the cold. I thought it was because I was so hot but the doctor says it is the migraine feelling the sensation

  • Peggy Artman moderator
    2 months ago

    @mimi, it sounds like you have had a really hard time dealing with hot and cold. It is one of the uncomfortable sensations caused by migraine disease. I hope today is a good day for you. Take care, Peggy (Migraine.com team)

  • mrsmac1202
    2 months ago

    I tend to run hot when I’ve got a migraine. To the point that I sleep with an ice pack more than half the time. My husband swears I’m trying to cook him when my head is really bad. When my head doesn’t hurt, it’s not an issue at all. I can’t stand getting too hot and it’s honestly one of the many things that can set my head off.

  • Peggy Artman moderator
    2 months ago

    mrsmac1202,
    Ice packs are a good way to cool off. I agree, feeling extremely hot is so uncomfortable. I hope the ice packs continue to help you with this discomfort.
    Peggy (Migraine.com team)

  • Kittymama
    2 months ago

    I can’t pin my hot/cold body temps to migraine days only. More likely premenopausal symptoms. I do know Imitrex makes me sweat every time.

  • Peggy Artman moderator
    2 months ago

    @kittymama,
    It’s possible that you are having hot flashes due to hormones. I have also noticed that when I take a triptan it makes me hot by the time it is helping with the pain. I hope things get better for you.
    Peggy (Migraine.com team)

  • ababineaux
    2 months ago

    I definitely expierence temperature changes during a pain cycle. Feels as if I have fever hot head and neck ! Recently a physician told me that I’m experiencing muscle spasms when I feel this way! It’s absolutely related to my pain cycle !

  • Tom Picerno moderator author
    2 months ago

    @ababineaux I know I suffer with muscles spasms during an attack. I never thought it was tied into me not being able to get warm or cool off. I guess the ice pack on the back of my head and shoulders controls the hot feeling in my head. It is an odd symptom, but it’s one we do our best to manage I suppose! Tom(migraine.com team)

  • MJCr8on
    2 months ago

    I have this too, though the heat part of it much worse than it used to be. But I think because it might be related to hot flashes, for me. I almost laughed reading the part where you said your body runs hot and you live in Florida. I’m just the opposite from you, I tend to run cold most of the time and I live in Minnesota! Maybe we should swap houses! But seriously, it’s hard enough living with chronic daily migraine. The body temperature fluctuations just add another unbearable layer when it’s hard enough, some days to deal with only the headache part. I have found that when I get so cold that all the blankets that I have and my dog can’t warm me up at all, getting into a hot bath is the only thing that works for me. It can even help lessen the pain in my head if I go completely under water. It feels like it somehow equalises the pressure. It normally doesn’t last very long, but it’s better than nothing.

  • Tom Picerno moderator author
    2 months ago

    @MJCr8on I can relate to the bath! I will often head to the shower before the bath because it takes less effort for similar relief. I agree the relief is not long lasting, but I’ll take what I can get! Tom(migraine.com team)

  • April.Sluder moderator
    2 months ago

    I can relate to not being able to get warm MJCr8on. The bath is the only thing that seems to work for me as well. We do what we can for even a few minutes of relief. Thanks so much for sharing. Thanks for being part of our community. April – Migraine.com Team

  • glassmind
    2 months ago

    I have these symptoms during my worse migraines also. Like having a fever, except I don’t. Feeling hot, havinh chills, cold feet, hot ears. Needing cool air for my head and warmth for my body. I read it may be serotonin disregulation.

    Thanks for bringing to awareness yet another aspect of Migraine

  • April.Sluder moderator
    2 months ago

    Thanks for sharing your experience glassmind. We appreciate you being part of our community. April – Migraine.com Team

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