Story by: Kim Huston on March 20, 2018
Jokes and memes about Kentucky weather abound: You can have all four seasons in a day! One day it’s 70 degrees, the next it’s snowing. But for people who get migraine headaches, our weather fluctuations are no laughing matter.
While studies have not found a direct link between weather changes and headache or migraine attacks, the American Migraine Foundation says more than one-third of people who experience migraine claim weather changes have a noticeable impact on their symptoms.
One of the biggest culprits is barometric (also called atmospheric) pressure. A 2017 study established an association between atmospheric pressure and the amount of migraine pain a person experiences.
Dramatic weather swings usually cause changes in barometric pressure. A pressure difference between a person’s environment and the sinus cavities can increase the chance of headache and migraine. This pressure difference can lead to swollen sinuses, especially if the person already has congestion or blockage.
You may have noticed this pressure effect while flying. As a plane changes altitude during takeoff and the approach for landing, the air pressure changes and your ears may pop or you may experience head or ear pain.
Use the Wait List option in your MyNortonChart account if you have a future appointment with the Headache & Concussion Center.
Other aspects of weather that may trigger migraine
Can you do anything to prevent migraine?
People who experience migraine can learn what triggers their attacks and take steps to avoid them. Unlike common triggers such as alcohol and certain foods, you can’t really avoid weather patterns. So what can you do?
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