Does Weather Really Influence Migraine Headaches?

28 Aug, 2016 | Dr. Malik | No Comments

Does Weather Really Influence Migraine Headaches?

Migraine headaches are a common occurrence, affecting nearly 2.7 million Canadians(1).  Causes for migraines can vary greatly, and can include the following:

  • Hormonal changes
  • Food additives
  • Alcohol
  • Stress
  • Medication

Another common cause of migraine headaches is the weather. Nearly 73% of people with migraine headaches reported weather as a trigger. Although there is no direct evidence that weather can trigger a migraine, there are a few theories about the relationship between migraine headaches and weather, such as:

  • Migraines could be a defense mechanisms to encourage a person to change their location to a more suitable area
  • Migraine sufferer may have a low pain threshold, making them more sensitive to pressure changes in the atmosphere 
  • Weather changes can cause a change in serotonin levels in the brain which could trigger a migraine.
  • Low pressure and high humidity can cause blood vessels in the brain to expand or contract. This can change blood flow which could cause a migraine headache.

If you suspect your migraine headaches are a result of weather changes, the following tips may help you:

  • Start a headache diary noting your symptoms and weather changes. Over time this could illustrate a connection between the two and can help you better prepare for a migraine in the future. 
  • Keep an eye on your symptoms; some of the most common symptoms include: frequent yawning, irritability, depression and pressure. 
  • Try an ionizer of humidifier or walk by a body of water to help reduce symptoms. 
  1. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-003-x/2014006/article/14033-eng.htm
  2. http://www.webmd.com/migraines-headaches/headache-and-migraine-trigger-weather