Migraines in the South

Migraine in the South

While migraines are extremely unpleasant wherever you may live, having them in the South can be an evil all on its own. The symptoms and triggers of migraines are in abundance in most southern states. Once you already have a really bad migraine, it is pretty much impossible to leave the house without making the migraine even worse due to the conditions outside. There are so many things that can make a migraine worse when it comes to the heat of the Southern states.

What winter?

In South Texas, we pretty much have absolutely no winter. We are lucky to have ‘cold’ weather for a month and then it is back to being in the warm weather. Granted everyone is different and has their own set of triggers but for me, the cold is less aggravating to my head. Just unfortunately, we do not have many cold days or even cooler days.

Brightness of the sun

The sun is pretty much relentless here. I have a ton of polarized sunglasses for when I have to go outside. It is so bright that the blackout curtains were not doing their job to keep the sun out. In order to fix this issue, my husband purchased Fomular Insulating Sheathing R-30 ½ inch sheets. It is not like the insulation inside your walls, its more like a foam cardboard. He cut the sheets and placed them in each window behind the blinds to keep the sun out. An additional bonus is that it also helps keeps some of the heat out too. Now I do not have an issue keeping any room dark enough. So at least indoors I can hide from the brightness of the sun pretty easily. Although, it is still difficult to go outside when you have a migraine already present and the sun can easily add to a bad migraine if you stay outside too long.

Heat

The heat in the Southern states is also pretty unrelenting. We are currently having temperatures over 100 degrees every day. The heat can trigger a migraine if you have to be outside in it, especially if you do not stay properly hydrated. If you already have a migraine, having to go outside in the heat can be almost unbearable.

Humidity

 
If the triple-digit temperatures were not bad enough, the humidity can be a downright assault on your body. Walking outside feels more like stepping into a sauna. In less than thirty seconds you are almost completely drenched in sweat. The air becomes so thick that it taxes your breathing enough that you become winded doing anything beyond walking to your vehicle.

Your car

High temperatures outside most often times translates into hot everything else. Climbing into your vehicle can become tricky especially if you already have a migraine. The temperature inside your car may be well over one hundred thirty degrees when you first open the door. If you are suffering through a migraine already, the extreme heat can add a throbbing or pounding accent to your migraine that makes it not only uncomfortable but also very difficult to drive.

Anybody else dealing with southern weather and migraines?

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 (31)
  • Georgiana
    4 months ago

    The longest I went without migraines in Houston was the summer (2011?) we had a drought. No storms meant no headaches.

    Even though I don’t particularly care for hot weather, my head loves it. I can remember many a day going outside and cooking my head in the sun because it made me feel so much better. No, I’ve never been photophobic. I’ll lie around and watch tv when I have a migraine. It’s phonophobia that kills me.

    Anyway, what made me miserable about Houston was “not summer”, the 3 months where instead of 100 degree heat we had cold fronts slamming into the area in between the temps going back up into the 80s. (Christmas there usually sucks.) Some of my worst headaches were brought on by those. When we got hit with a polar vortex a while back, I thought I was going to die. I had to put my ex on the phone with the neuro’s office, because they couldn’t understand me. Took a steroid pack to bring me out of that round of headaches.

    Now I live in a place that has 4 relatively mild seasons. All is does lately is frickin’ rain, but as long as it’s not storming (which it doesn’t do often), it’s not too triggering.

    So, I miss the long, hot summers speaking strictly in terms of migraine relief, but I do NOT miss the stupid fronts.

  • Amanda Workman moderator author
    4 months ago

    Storms trigger migraines for many people and there are plenty especially during hurricane season. Lately there have been lots of years where we had massive storms out of season too, enough so to cause major floods in the Houston area. I live closer to Galveston but definitely understand what you went through when you were living here. I’m glad you have had some relief with your move. Sending you lots of love
    Amanda Workman (moderator)

  • mrst53
    4 months ago

    I live in the valley of VA, I suffer with severe migraines during the summer. Waiting for thunder storms to hit every afternoon. I don’t have to black out curtains yet, but I feel for those of you who have to. I keep hearing from my neuro doc that there is a med coming for those of us who have weather related migraines.

  • RobinfromCA
    4 months ago

    This is a very interesting thing for me to read. I live in CA but my daughter and her family live in South Texas and my headaches are always worse when I’m there visiting. I feel better about that now because I was beginning to think I was going a little crazy.

  • Amanda Workman moderator author
    4 months ago

    You are definitely not crazy! Different locations present different challenges to all of us. The heat and humidity in Texas is different than other states aside from Louisiana. That’s a lot for your body to adjust to! Sending you lots of strength
    Amanda Workman (moderator)

  • darkwing
    4 months ago

    Great read! I’m in Texas and I can relate. It’s terrible here. I’ve resorted to going out in the daytime only if absolutely necessary, i.e work only. I do my grocery shopping usually after 10p.m. Somewhat because of the sun but mostly because the heat gives me such a terrible migraine that I have to go nap after work.

  • Amanda Workman moderator author
    4 months ago

    The sun is on battle and the heat is definitely a very aggressive trigger. As you know the heat attacks the second you open your office door, car door, or home door. Sometimes it’s even hot at 10 pm!! I’m sorry you are having to deal with this challenge as well. Stay strong
    Amanda Workman (moderator)

  • ChronicallyEverything
    4 months ago

    I live in Texas too, but in the western part of the state. We don’t have so much of the humidity here (except when we do, you know how it goes with the storm cycles), but we get these awful high and low pressure systems that literally move into the area and park themselves over the general area where I live. It’s these pressure systems that really cause me pain! The direct heat of the sun can also trigger me – an otherwise hot, but cloudy day doesn’t hurt me as badly as a day of full sunshine. I would swear that the sun is somehow brighter here. The thing about blackout curtains not blocking the sun out is so true! Thanks for the tip foe helping with that! Most ppl around here just put aluminum foil all over the insides of their windows lol. It looks crazy and driving through neighborhoods is blinding, but it’s effective and inexpensive if you can’t afford insulated board for all the windows. Just maybe don’t do this to windows facing the street. I’ve had a constant headache all summer. It goes from a 3 on most days to a spike of 8 to 9 about 2 days a week. I’m on Trokendi xr and triptan plus other meds for my other conditions. I’m a mess on my best days, but living in this hot box is torturous!

  • Amanda Workman moderator author
    4 months ago

    I cannot imagine seeing so much cool in the bright summer sun. My sister had suggested doing it to our windows but my husband came home and did the insulation board. It also helps keep the house cooler because the AC is not escaping through the window panes. Are your daily migraines only during the summer or all year long? Some people do have them all year long, I’m one of them. I know some days, Alaska sounds nice. Lol. Thank you for commenting
    Amanda Workman (moderator)

  • greeneyednanny
    4 months ago

    I was raised in a little town near Savannah, GA and ten years ago moved to TN. All the things mentioned, heat, bright sun,humidity ALL make migraines worse! Add to that any allergy triggers, since our growing seasons are SO LONG. I don’t even walk to the end of my driveway to check the mail w/o my polarized sunglasses on. My kids and grandkids make fun of them, they’re ‘fit-overs’. I choose them because they have a panel at the top that keeps most sunlight from coming in that way. Might not be stylish, but they get the job done!

  • Amanda Workman moderator author
    4 months ago

    Allergies are definitely a whole additional issue and we have learned going from one area in Texas to another creates an entirely new set of allergy issues. I always wear sunglasses and the little neieces even have their own “sunnies.” Lol. There is nothing wrong with wrap sunglasses, I wear them too.
    Sending you lots of love and strength
    Amanda Workman (moderator)

  • reply79
    4 months ago

    I moved to South LA about 14 months ago, humidity and constant thunderstorms are killing me! I lived in SE New Mexico before, the heat bothered me, but not like this.

  • Amanda Workman moderator author
    4 months ago

    Storms and humidity definitely cause a lot of issues for people as well. We definitely understand both here in Texas as well. The changes in barometric pressure that come with storms affect a lot of people with migraines, unfortunately. Stay strong.
    Amanda Workman (moderator)

  • Cocodog
    4 months ago

    I lived in South Texas with 2-4 migraines a month. Then I moved to the high desert in New Mexico. Did not help. All I got for my efforts is serious beach lust. I miss it. Seriously hot here little humidity (perhaps a little better), and bright sun. Clouds are a celebration especially if the produce rain. An exercise physiologist told me to wear a cooling jacket outside. And I noticed neck wraps one can wet and put around the neck for cooling.

  • Amanda Workman moderator author
    4 months ago

    I know exactly what you are talking about with the neck wraps. You soak them in cool or cold water and the expand and you tie them around your neck. Most of them I’ve seen kind of have a Bandana design. We grew up using them on the ranch. Although I have never heard of a cooling jacket.
    With that kind of move, I would have your allergies tested. I say this because even moving a few hours within Texas can drastically change allergy issues, which can affect your migraines.
    I hope you are able to begin to love your new home.
    Amanda Workman (moderator)

  • griff
    4 months ago

    I’m in Fl and I get u……the worst for me is running errands…into AC then into 100+ temp of car…..repeat three of four times and migraine arrives…..I do things early in morning, always use sun shade in front window…look for shade trees……ask for help from my husband…….wrap around sunglasses help with glare……mid August and at least another month of the hottest of the hot.

  • Amanda Workman moderator author
    4 months ago

    I definitely agree with you; it’s best to do errands first thing in the morning or the last thing in the evening before it gets too hot. I also use a wrap style sunglasses but I always choose a polarized version because it helps to keep everything look less sunny. Some fishing or military geared glasses work amazing! Lol. Unfortunately in south Texas it won’t start cooling off until November for us!!! Lol. Sending you strength to get through the heat.
    Amanda Workman.

  • konditoralex
    4 months ago

    I am in SW Florida and during the Summer, (although we didn’t have a winter) we get daily thunderstorms. Approximately an hour or so before the storms hit the pressure drops and the migraines spike. After the storms pass it takes 6-8+ hours to start to feel better even with meds, so by the time you are over one the next storm is on it’s way in…

  • Amanda Workman moderator author
    4 months ago

    My husband is from Florida. He said everybody calls it the sunshine state when it should be liquid sunshine because it rains all the time! And you are definitely correct, the migraines from changes in barametric pressure are not a pleasant thing to deal with either.

  • mlp170738
    4 months ago

    I’m in SWFL too, and the daily thunderstorms are the bane of my existence. I’m on month two of haven’t-gotten-out-of-bed (head pain 8+ and nausea/abdominal 7+ constantly) and I just want to crawl in a dark hole anywhere but here. Continuing with Trokendi and Botox, but Imitrex won’t touch symptoms anymore and we’ve done two rounds of high dose steroids. Would do anything to feel better!

  • Amanda Workman moderator author
    4 months ago

    There are various forms of imitrex. I’m aware of this because the pills do not work for me at all but the injections with the needles work well. You might need a new abortive or a new version of the imitrex. I’m very sorry you have been miserable for so long. I know that can be just flat awful. I really hope something starts to help soon. Sending you lots of love
    Amanda Workman

  • Drea99
    4 months ago

    Is there a good place to live? I’m in Colorado so I do get some cold temps, but the sun and glare is relentless. Pressure drops with the thunderstorms all summer…ugh. Also get smoke from nearby wildfires.

  • greeneyednanny
    4 months ago

    I’ve discovered that extremes of temps either direction can cause/worsen migraines. Yeah, not too sure about there being any ‘good’ places to live if you suffer from migraines!

  • shannonbush
    4 months ago

    Yes! I live in Central Alabama and have all the same issues. Love my Southern roots, but I do hate how it effects my body.

  • Msmmain
    4 months ago

    I actually live in Washington (state, not DC) and the 90+° days we’ve been having since May coupled with the horrific smoke haze from all the forest fires every summer is also really awful for those of us here with migraine. I know people who’ve moved here because of their migraine’s heat triggers who think it “just rains all year” here, and then their symptoms get worse because of the dryer heat sticking around and causing widespread wildfires all summer long. I dont know about y’all, but I spend most of the fall-spring stocking up on meds so that I can make it through the worst of the summer without 20 ER trips to survive it (I wish I was exaggerating about that, but I’ve already had to go in 11 times since June.).

    heat + bright sunshine + pollution = I hate summer now. 🙁

  • Amanda Workman moderator author
    4 months ago

    I can understand that unfortunately. We have a ton of pollution because we are surrounded by petrochemical plants. Although rain storms can cause migraines for a lot of individuals as well.
    Amanda Workman

  • Migrainesuffer163
    4 months ago

    Yes everyday!

  • Adie
    4 months ago

    Yes! I live in south Louisiana where a day without high humidity is a rare joy. This summer, thunderstorms have been an almost daily event and my migraines have been awful. I am surprised at how much better I feel when I travel to more stable climates,

  • Amanda Workman moderator author
    4 months ago

    Louisiana and Texas are rough, especially with the storms we have had the last two years. Barametric pressure affects a lot of individuals with migraines. As much as traveling can be a challenge, being in a different environment can be a nice breather for our Migraines. I hope we are not overwhelmed with storms anytime soon and the humidity stays low!
    Amanda Workman (moderator)

  • mammapeaches (Susan McManus)
    4 months ago

    Great article, Amanda! I’m in Georgia, so I can relate. Although, here we say it’s like stepping into a dishwasher!!

  • Amanda Workman moderator author
    4 months ago

    I’m southern but that’s a new saying to me!! Lol. But I can definitely understand the context of it. Stay strong
    Amanda Workman (moderator)

  • Poll