Migraine headaches triggered by the weather?

Many factors such as stress, lack of sleep, diet, hormonal changes, and sensorial stimuli (smells, bright lights, etc.) can trigger migraine attacks. But can weather changes also cause these intense headaches?

Migraine headaches can be terribly debilitating, lasting anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Afflicted individuals suffer from intense headaches that are often accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, extreme sensitivity to light (photophobia) and sounds (phonophobia), and/or vision problems. We know that many factors such as stress, lack of sleep, diet, hormonal changes, and sensorial stimuli (smells, bright lights, etc.) can trigger migraine attacks. But can weather changes also cause these intense headaches?

It would seem they indeed do. In fact, certain individuals at grips with migraines are likely more sensitive to changes in outdoor temperatures, absolute humidity and/or barometric pressure. We do not know exactly how or why these factors trigger migraines. It is not thought however, that meteorological changes are the cause of other types of headaches.

If you suffer from migraine attacks you think might be triggered by weather changes, it can indeed be very frustrating, as you have absolutely no control over Mother Nature. However, you can be vigilant by trying to identify the specific meteorological changes that trigger your migraine attacks. To help you do so, you can keep a migraine journal in which you track the particularities of the weather that precede the onset of an attack. If you are able to detect a link between a weather phenomenon and your migraine attacks, you could react more rapidly when it occurs again.

The key in managing migraines is to avoid trigger factors and to treat the attack as quickly and early as possible. If you suffer from migraines very often, you should consult your family physician. Preventive migraine medications are available to help reduce the frequency and intensity of your migraine attacks.

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