Person cranks jack in the box of weather elements and mystery brain images.

The Ever Evolving Migraine Trigger

I have an old dog. I have yet to teach him a new trick. The instances in which I’ve tried, he looks up from his dog bed unimpressed as if to say, “Lady, you had your chance.” This is how I feel about my migraine. My head had a chance. Its predictable pattern has been set for years. Why, now, are my old migraines showing me they have a new trick?

Moving away from migraine triggers

A little over a year ago, my dog, husband, young son, and I abandoned the traffic-filled streets of our Los Angeles neighborhood to move to my mid-western hometown. We opted for less traffic, more grandparents, and a lot more weather. I was thrilled to return home and a tiny part of me hoped that my usual migraine triggers might get left behind.

The sun and heat of California

After living in Cali for close to twenty years, I knew how to navigate the never-changing weather. My sunglasses weren’t far from my face and in the summer — I stayed indoors. The outrageous southern California heat triggered my migraine faster than I could say Colin Firth (who smiled at me that one time in that movie theatre). This move guaranteed me a cooler lifestyle. Without that summer sauna, I figured my migraines would lesson. Nope. They simply changed.

Changing weather triggers an attack

Now that there’s weather in my weather, on the days when the temperature radically drops, my head drops into a migraine. It’s happening with such consistency, I’ve begun to warn friends and family I won’t be available that day.

Why is the weather a trigger?

According to the Mayo Clinic, “For some people, weather changes may cause imbalances in brain chemicals, including serotonin, which can prompt a migraine.”1 I’m not sure if that’s the reason my migraine happens, but my head is definitely a casualty of these weather shifts.

Barometric migraine

Weather changes cause variations in atmospheric pressure and that leads my head into what can be termed a “barometric migraine.” Shifts in barometric pressure occur on an airplane and flying in one of my migraine triggers. I’ve heard other sufferers experience migraines because of changing weather, so I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised.

Figuring out new triggers

Over the years, I’ve become adept at avoiding my triggers. I know to get enough sleep, not overdo it on the caffeine, and avoid algebra. I thought I knew everything about the patterns and causes of my migraine. Now, I’m trying to figure out my head all over again. It's a surprise that has definitely surprised me. My 6-year-old is fond of telling me that I can be bossy, but I’m not sure I can successfully boss around the weather.

Forever evolving migraine

This new trigger shows me that my migraine is forever evolving. One day I’d love it if they evolved right out of my head, but, until then, learning some new tricks to be more prepared seems to be my best option. If this old migraine girl can learn new tricks, then maybe there's hope for my old dog too. At the very least, I'll share some treats with him.

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