Weather Could Be Causing Your Migraines
Thursday, May 06 2010
Have you ever experienced a severe headache just before or during a large storm arrived in your area? Or perhaps in the midst of an extreme heat wave?
Those weather conditions may have played a part in your migraine.
Migraines are reoccurring headaches associated with extreme pain and are often joined by nausea, vomiting, and intense sensitivity to light and sound.
The exact cause of a migraine is unknown, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association.
However, weather is believed by many people to be one of the chief triggers for a migraine.
Headaches are triggered by the differences in the size of blood vessels. High and low atmospheric pressure, extreme heat, high humidity and even rain can affect blood vessels in the brain, causing them to contract and expand.
Temperature mixed with humidity, significant changes in weather, and changes in barometric pressure, which can precede storms, were determined by one study to be the most common triggers.
The study was conducted in 2004 at a Connecticut clinic that compared the participants headache diaries with local weather reports over the course of several months.
Just over half of the migraine-experiencing participants (50.6 percent) were found to be sensitive to weather. Interestingly, 62.3 percent of those involved in the study believed their headaches were weather triggered.
Weather events on a more localized level can also bring about migraines.
A study in 2000 by the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada, examined how Chinook winds affected migraines of the local population.
There was a common assertion by migraine sufferers in the southern portion of the Canadian province of Alberta that these localized winds caused the headaches as they moved into the area.
A Chinook wind is a warm, westerly wind that blows in from the Pacific Ocean into interior locations of the Pacific Northwest. They can be so warm that an entire foot of snow can melt within a day’s time.
The study found that more people experienced migraines just prior to and during occurrences of Chinook winds.
In addition to weather, migraines are also believed to be caused by other factors, including intake of specific foods, lack of or too much sleep, stress, and hormonal irregularities in women.
The combination of any of these catalysts, including weather, will only raise the chances of the extreme headaches to occur.
Story by AccuWeather.com’s Jon Auciello
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