The Health Risk Of Weather Changes: Can They Cause Headache?
Does the weather forecast sometimes have you worried that it might leave you with a pounding headache? If so, then you are not alone. It is not uncommon for some people to experience headaches as a result of the changes in the weather, especially when it fluctuates from a bright sunny day to a thunderstorm. This type of headache is often referred to as ‘barometric pressure headache.’
Barometric pressure (i.e., the weight of the air) basically rises when the weather is dry and falls when it is humid. According to several studies, when the barometric pressure fluctuates, it can bring about pressure between the sinuses leading to a chemical imbalance and headache. To understand more about this, read on as this article looks into how weather changes can trigger headaches in some individuals.
What Research Says on the Link Between Weather and Headaches
The link between weather fluctuations and headaches has long been a subject of discussion in the field of research. Several studies on the possibility and rationale behind this link have been made, and almost all of them lead to the same conclusion – weather changes can indeed trigger headaches.
For instance, based on a 2015 analysis report conducted in Taiwan, about half of the individuals living with migraines say that fluctuations in the weather can trigger their attacks. Temperature extremes, storms, and changes in barometric pressure could all contribute to these attacks by changing people’s serotonin levels and other brain chemicals.
However, not everyone reacts to every weather fluctuation in the same way. Heat causes headaches in some people, while others experience migraine attacks when the temperature drops. Some individuals are also more sensitive to changes in humidity and temperature than others. In some instances, various factors come together to trigger a headache.
How Weather Changes Can Cause Headaches
According to many headache specialists, shifts in barometric pressure and temperature are the main culprit behind weather-induced headaches. During a storm, warm and cold air combine to create differences in barometric pressure. This is also how rain, wind, and thunderstorms are made. Barometric pressure is likewise known as the atmospheric pressure that is being applied against a specific area – in this case, the area is an individual.
Because a person’s sinus and nasal cavities are air channels, any fluctuation in that pressure, specifically a drop in barometric pressure, impacts those areas. This pushes fluid into tissues and can result in a disruption in fluid balance. Some researchers also believe that barometric changes have an effect on one’s brain and how it blocks or does not block pain.
Common Symptoms of Barometric Pressure Headache
Although you can get a headache or migraine from other triggers, barometric pressure can exacerbate your symptoms. Aside from the usual symptoms associated with headaches, such as vomiting, nausea, and light sensitivity, people who have headaches triggered by barometric changes may also experience the following symptoms:
Facial pain or discomfort around the sinuses
To avoid these symptoms and minimise your risk, health experts advise that you should stay away from other triggers, especially when the weather is bad. Among these triggers are foods that cause headaches or migraines, such as those that contain monosodium glutamate (MSG), caffeine, and nitrates. You may also try medications and other treatments designed to keep headaches at bay before they occur. Consult with your doctor about any medications or preventive options that are suitable for you.
Although not many people are aware of it, the weather is one of the biggest factors that can trigger headaches in certain individuals. The main culprit behind this phenomenon is barometric pressure -- whose fluctuations can cause a headache-inducing chemical imbalance. To prevent yourself from getting a pounding headache whenever the weather fluctuates, drink more water, manage your stress, avoid other triggers, and communicate with your doctor about possible preventive measures.
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