weather changes

A Temperature Spike Can Set Off Migraines

Weather the #1 environmental trigger of migraines

Scientists who study headaches still haven’t determined exactly why migraines and other headaches arise. The majority thinks that numerous elements, including heredity and lack of equilibrium in the brain’s neurovascular bundles, are contributors.

Weather could also be a factor in whether or not a headache strikes. Like any pain, these attacks seem pointless but should be understood as the body sending a signal (which then we must decipher). One prominent theory says that headaches are intended to safeguard you against environmental danger. If your head starts hurting, this perspective goes, you move toward shelter. This scientific perspective is backed up by evidence that shifts in the weather often trigger head pain.

When the National Headache Foundation asked chronic headache and migraine patients what the biggest triggers of their attacks were, three in four listed weather events. Examples were shifts in humidity and temperature; thunderstorms; and intense dryness or dustiness. In fact, changing weather was mentioned more than any other environmental factor:

  1. Shifts in the weather – 73%
  2. Strong smells – 64%
  3. Intense light – 59%
  4. Smoke – 53%
  5. Sever hotness or coolness – 38%
  6. Shifts in altitude – 31%
  7. Gusts of wind – 18%.

As stated above, some scientists believe that head pain in response to weather was wired into some people as a cue to get to safety. Beyond that, if you often need migraine pain relief when the weather changes, researchers say you probably have higher-than-average environmental sensitivity. People who experience this trigger “also have a lower threshold to the pain response,” explains WebMD. “The reason, they suspect, is that people who get migraines have likely inherited this sensitivity.”

Sudden temperature spikes lead to migraine

Often people will need migraine pain relief during the hottest days of summer or any days that are warmer in relationship to previous days, according to a study conducted in a Boston emergency room. Harvard researcher Dr. Kenneth Mukamal and his colleagues assessed the records of over 7000 patients who visited the ER for a headache.

“According to the findings, on the days of the hospital visits the air temperature tended to be warmer,” notes Patti Neighmond for NPR. “In fact, for every 9 degrees Fahrenheit increase in temperature, Mukamal found a 7.5 percent increase in the risk of a headache severe enough to provoke a trip to emergency room.” To be clear, it isn’t just warmth that triggers head pain but warmth relative to the previous days.

Your own personal team

Are you suffering from weather changes and in need of migraine pain relief? At Pain Stop North Phoenix, you will have access to your own personal team of Pain Management Specialists every time you step into our clinics. Stop your pain today.


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