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Triggers

Weather Related Migraines?

  • By Kathy

    Does anyone else have weather triggers?

    Have been tracking my migraines for at least 4 yrs and have seen a definite trend, increasing volume in June, July, August and December, January, February and March, when we have the most extreme weather.

    I know to watch for high heat/humidity combos and sudden drop/raises in outdoor temp in short time.

    Am planning to start documenting specific weather conditions so I can find any other common factors. Must admit I am curious. And it will really help when I am planning activities. May not be able to be spontaneous during those months, but not going to let the migraines win either 😉

    Does anyone seem to have weather related migraines?
    Are there any specific weather conditions that seem to be a factor?

    Any info is appreciated!

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  • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

    Hi OpenRoad,

    Yes, I have migraines that are triggered by fluctuations in the barometric pressure along with many others. Some of us will have a migraine attack before a weather front moves in while others seem to get attacks afterwards. We do have information from a migraine expert on weather triggered migraines that may be helpful; https://migraine.com/blog/migraine-and-weather/. This article has information on how to manage weather triggers that may be helpful; https://migraine.com/blog/how-can-i-manage-other-triggers-such-as-stress-and-environmental-changes/.

    Most of us are triggered by more than one thing, or a combination of things. For example, triggers can include certain foods, dehydration, irregular sleeping patterns, and changes in the barometric pressure. Let me share our information with you on triggers; https://migraine.com/blog/migraine-management-essential-trigger-management/.

    Good luck!
    Nancy Harris Bonk, Moderator/Patient Advocate

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  • By Lee Roberts

    Hi OpenRoad,

    I have Migraines triggered by multiple sources and definitely have Migraines that are triggered by the weather. I get hit with a wicked Migraine before a storm hits. I know that some are triggered by the Barometric Pressure changes and the humidity. The heat really affects me something awful and is definitely a trigger. I am not sure what other weather changes may be wreaking chaos with my system so I decided to start keeping a journal.

    I use the NOAA website and log the Temp, Humidity, Barometer and Dewpoint. I do this at least am and pm daily and depending on how I am feeling I may do it during the day too if something changes.

    I have multiple other triggers. Some of these I have figured those out over time. There are still some Migraines I have yet to figure out their source.

    I will be sharing my story in the week ahead. You asked specifically about weather Migraines so I tried to stick to that here much as I could.

    Keeping a journal is a really good idea. I keep track of the daily weather, my Migraine pain level that day and I also have Fibromyalgia so I log that pain level too. I share the info with my docs.

    All the best to you!
    Lee

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  • By Jojiieme

    Is anyone else using the accuweather.com site??? I was at my wits’ end last week, feeling my brain was boiling away ( how melodramatic does that sound?!) and having to take more time off work. Luckily I work for a not-for-profit, so there’s a little more understanding, but still, you feel bad. Anyway, I was reading articles here, feeling bad, talking to the docs, and trying to figure things out…
    My family doctor put me onto the site! You can set it for your location, and your chronic condition (or generic symptoms for some things). Migraine is featured! 🙂 So is arthritis, respiratory conditions, cardiac conditions etc… The forecasts are for a few days to a month ahead, and can be broken down to hourly conditions. So if you know it’s likely to be a bad day, you can reschedule an important meeting (like a job interview) or carry extra help.
    I don’t want to sound like an ad. But this week compared with last week, it’s like going from no control to at least knowing where the cars are.

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  • By cathyn

    Hi OpenRoad,

    I have chronic migraines that are very much triggered by weather. Cold fronts, high winds, impending storms and heavy clouds are my biggest triggers. And, of course, where I live (Detroit) the weather changes constantly. Interestingly enough, we take a Caribbean cruise every March, and I have not had one migraine while in South Florida or on a cruise. This has held true the last 3 years, which is when my migraines became chronic.

    I’ve seen a couple posts on barometric pressure. I’m a health writer and a year or so ago I interviewed one of the country’s leading migraine experts for an article. He told me that though it was once believed barometric pressure changes caused weather-related migraines, this is no longer the latest line of thinking. Headache experts now believe it’s ionic changes in the air. So, with bad weather coming in, there is a rise in positive ions, which he says is believed to trigger migraines.

    I’ve heard many people speak of pressure, and I know for myself, it makes no difference what the pressure is. I have migraines on low and high pressure days. So, the ionic theory was quite interesting to me. I have yet to figure out why I don’t get migraines on my vacations (despite high winds, rain, etc.), but now wonder if it’s something to do with a difference in the ions there. Heat and humidity do not bother me, thank God, because I love the tropics!
    All I know is it stinks when weather is a trigger and you live somewhere where the weather is unstable.

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  • By notfakingit

    Imminent thunderstorms are on of my triggers. My doctor believes it is the change in atmospheric pressure that does it for me. The more I learn what my triggers are the more I am able to deal with my migraines.

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  • By JonSA

    Hi Cathyn – My wife has been suffering from 24/7 migraines for over two years now. We’re just starting to notice that there seems to be a correlation between the severity of her headache and weather. In February 2015, we took a trip to St Thomas VI (we live in Idaho). On about the 2nd or 3rd day she noticed that her headache was gone. By this time, she’d been suffering 24/7 for about 6 months. During the vacation, her headache stayed away for the entire time we were in St Thomas, only to return while on the plane heading back. Her neurologist suggested that it was lack of stress that caused it to subside and then reintroduction of stress that made it reappear. The only problem with that theory is that the trip to St Thomas was anything but stress free.

    In order to prove (or disprove) our theory that there was something peculiar to the St Thomas area that was responsible for her brief headache-free period, we went to Hawaii in October 2015. Our theory at that point was that maybe it had something to do with the latitude of St Thomas. Since St Thomas is difficult to get to from the western US, we tried Hawaii since the latitude there is similar. Unfortunately, she did not get any relief on that trip.

    So, we decide to go back to St Thomas, which we did in June 2016. No relief on that trip either.

    Recently, we noticed that her headache had grown much more severe. It happened to coincide with a low pressure system that came through. A few days after a high settled back in, she noticed that her pain level was back down to a more “normal” level. We have another low pressure system that is supposed to come in later this weekend, so we’ll be interested to see if the severity spikes again.

    In the mean time, if the migraine expert that you interview is correct and that the cause is more of a rise in positive ions, how would a person counteract that?

    Thanks!

    Jon

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  • By cathyn

    Hi Jon,

    It’s so strange that your wife found relief on the first trip, but not the next two. I went to Southern Calif. this summer, and again experienced much relief, though not as much as in Fla. and the Caribbean. On a 10-day trip, I had two migraines, but one was very mild and didn’t stop me from enjoying the day. I also had a couple of headaches, but one was definitely linked to a whale-watching trip that made me seasick!
    I’ve also been given the lack of stress theory by doctors and friends. My answer is the same as yours: our vacations are not stress free (especially getting there, as I manage all the itinerary and details). Also, I can no longer vacation in my favorite place in the Adirondack Mts. of upstate NY, after having horrible migraines there on our last trip.

    As for counteracting the ion, I don’t think there’s a specific way to do that. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to control the weather,as I know all too well. It’s not like a glass of wine, where if it’s a trigger, you don’t drink it.
    How is your wife now/?Have you taken more trips? I’d love to hear an update and wish her well, I can truly sympathize with what she’s going through.

    Cathy

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  • By Rockin mama

    Weather changes are awful triggers for me. The extreme cold, especially the polar vortex, and temps dropping during the day are the worst winter triggers. The first few really hot days hurt me in the summer. The near constant weather changes in central Ohio drive me crazy sometimes. I get migraines on the weekends and on vacation, especially when the weather changes.

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