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Migraines: Are they triggered by weather changes?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/headaches/AN00751
- With Mayo Clinic neurologist
Jerry W. Swanson, M.D.read biographyclose window
Jerry W. Swanson, M.D.Jerry W. Swanson, M.D.
Dr. Jerry Swanson is a board-certified neurologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. He is also board certified in headache medicine and is a professor of neurology at College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic. He has a special interest in medical education.
Dr. Swanson, a Lacon, Ill., native, was appointed to the Mayo Clinic staff in 1982 and works in the Department of Neurology with more than 90 other physicians. He formerly chaired the department's Division of Headache and continues to work with headache subspecialists around the world. He has published and lectured widely on headache disorders. He also serves as assistant dean for assessment at Mayo Medical School.
"In a manner similar to the printing press, Internet technology enables the unprecedented ability to communicate with the global community about health information," Dr. Swanson says. "There is no doubt that the knowledgeable individual contributes greatly to his or her own health care, and now we can share information much more widely.
"There is much information already available about health care on the Internet. Unfortunately, much of it is not founded on sound principles. It is exciting to be a part of the web team and contribute to the creation of a reliable and timely health resource."
Dr. Swanson is the neurology editor for "Mayo Clinic Family Health Book" and has reviewed articles for "Mayo Clinic Health Letter" and "Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource." He is also editor-in-chief of the "Mayo Clinic on Headache" book, published in 2004. In 2008 the magazine Women's Health named him one of America's Top Doctors for Women. In 2011 he received the Mayo Medical School Dean's Recognition Award for his contributions to undergraduate medical education.
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Migraines: Are they triggered by weather changes?
Can weather changes trigger migraines?
from Jerry W. Swanson, M.D.
Some people who have migraines appear to be more sensitive to changes in the weather. Weather-related triggers include:
- Bright sunlight
- Hot or cold temperatures
- High humidity
- Dry air
- Windy or stormy weather
- Barometric pressure changes
For some people, weather changes may cause imbalances in brain chemicals, including serotonin, which can prompt a migraine. Weather-related triggers also may worsen a headache caused by other triggers.
If you feel your migraines are triggered by weather, you may be understandably frustrated. After all, you can't change the weather. However, you can learn which weather changes start a migraine and take steps to lessen their effects:
- Keep a headache diary, listing each migraine, when it happened, how long it lasted and what could have caused it. This can help you determine if you have specific weather triggers.
- Monitor weather changes and avoid triggers if at all possible. For example, stay indoors during very cold or windy weather if these factors appear to trigger your migraines.
- Take your migraine medication at the first sign of a migraine.
- Make healthy lifestyle choices — eat healthy foods, exercise regularly, get enough sleep and keep your stress under control. These factors can help reduce the number and severity of your migraines.
Nighttime headaches: How can I get relief?
- Environmental and physical factors. National Headache Foundation. http://www.headaches.org/education/Tools_for_Sufferers/Headache_-_Frequently_Asked_Questions/Environmental_and_Physical_Factors. Accessed Feb. 21, 2012.
- Friedman DI, et al. Migraine and the environment. Headache. 2009;49:941.
- Migraine headache. American Academy of Neurology. http://www.aan.com/professionals/practice/guidelines/migraine/Migraine_Guide_Patients.pdf. Accessed Feb. 29, 2012.
- Hoffman J, et al. Weather sensitivity in migraineurs. Journal of Neurology. 2011;258:596.
- Migraine. National Headache Foundation. http://www.headaches.org/education/Headache_Topic_Sheets/Migraine. Accessed March 1, 2012.