Help for Weather-Triggered Migraine Headaches

Severe weather can cause all manner of problems including loss of power, downed trees, flooding or snow and ice that make travel difficult.  Drastic shifts in weather patterns can also be a trigger for some people who experience migraines, which may cause pain, light and sound sensitivity, dizziness, or nausea.  People sensitive to humidity or barometric pressure changes may find they have to be careful during weather shifts to avoid other known triggers like stress, lack of sleep or certain foods. 

According to the Cleveland Clinic, barometric pressure changes can lead to sinus and inner ear pain or discomfort, post-nasal drip and teary eyes. People who get migraines often find that changes in weather patterns linked to air pressure and temperature can worsen symptoms.  Barometric change may also affect the pressure on the brain. 

A smartphone weather-tracking app can be helpful for migraine sufferers affected by weather, alerting them to a possible trigger.   If a storm is heading their way, people who get migraines can plan ahead avoiding other triggers like caffeine, monosodium glutamate (MSG) and nitrates.  When bad weather is anticipated, migraine sufferers should be sure any prescription rescue medications are up to date and filled, keep a good sleep schedule, and take action to manage stress. Drinking more water can also help stave off headaches.  Because bright or flickering lights can sometimes trigger a migraine, keep sunglasses handy while driving or spending time outdoors. 

A healthy diet is also essential in helping to reduce the frequency and duration of migraines.  Magnesium, found in dark leafy greens, fish, soybeans, avocado and bananas may help limit or prevent a migraine.  Vitamin B2, found in milk, meat, eggs, nuts, enriched flour and green vegetables is also linked with an improvement in migraine symptoms.  Coenzyme Q10, a supplement commonly recommended for heart health, may also be helpful in reducing migraine frequency.   Before taking any new medication or supplement, it’s important to talk first with your doctor or pharmacist to avoid dangerous drug interactions or side effects. 

Learn more about seasonal and weather-related migraine triggers by following this link to the American Migraine Foundation website.