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Weather and Headaches: Spikes in Temperature Can Be Migraine Triggers

Got Headaches? Could Be the Weather

I've always wondered if weather-induced headaches are an old wives' tale, and I'm not the only one. A group of medical researchers in Boston recently conducted a study of 7,000 emergency-room patients to see if weather really could cause migraines. Turns out, it can, but differently than you might think.

According to NPR, a study published in the new issue of Neurology found that spikes in temperature often cause headaches. The researchers studied 7,000 patients suffering from both migraines and unspecified headaches, and for both groups, a big uptick in temperature correlated with a higher incidence of headaches. But what about that other common headache culprit, barometric pressure? To find out,


Though the correlation between headaches and barometric pressure was weaker, the docs did notice that headaches were often preceded by low barometric pressure in the days before a hospital visit. Humidity and pollution variables, at least in this study, didn't seem to matter. Here's more:

According to the findings, on the days of the hospital visits the air temperature tended to be warmer. In fact, for every 9 degrees Fahrenheit increase in temperature, [Dr. Kenneth] Mukamal found a 7.5 percent increase in the risk of a headache severe enough to provoke a trip to emergency room. . . . It's not that the hotter it was, the more likely patients were to have a headache, Mukamal stresses. Rather, it is the temperature increase that matters.

I've definitely gotten headaches when the weather suddenly gets warmer, so I find this news pretty enlightening. How about you?

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