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Is Cold Weather to Blame For Your Pain?

Do you ever notice that in the wintertime, your aches and pains get worse or you have them more often? It may have to do with the cold temperature outside. Not only does the colder air cause symptoms or flare-ups of many conditions, but changes in barometric pressure or humidity can also make ailments worse.

Migraines: This type of nauseating headache is caused by constriction or dilation of blood vessels in the brain. According to research conducted by the New England Center For Headaches, half of migraines are triggered by cold, dry weather, or changes to weather in general. Doctors recommend that patients keep a headache journal and jot down the weather when they have symptoms, so they can anticipate a migraine and take medication before they feel pain.

To find out what else Winter makes worse

Sinus headaches: When the air cavities in your face become clogged or infected with mucus, it creates pressure that can cause a debilitating sinus headache. Changes in barometric pressure combined with pressure in the sinuses can make the pain even worse. If the air is dry (as it often is in the Winter), it can dry out the sinuses and trigger a sinus headache as well.

Asthma: If you suffer from asthma, you don't need research to tell you that there's a correlation between cold, dry weather and constriction of airways and increased hospital visits.

Fit's Tip: If you find that the dry weather of Winter makes your pains and conditions worse, running a humidifier in your home could make a world of difference. If extreme cold weather affects you, dress warmly, drink some hot tea, and exercise to help increase circulation and your body temperature.


Join The Conversation
kiddylnd kiddylnd 9 years
Wac you are so right. What I really hate is when I am having an episode and someone says why can't I just take an Excedrin Migraine. WHAT?! That wouldn't even DULL my symptoms. I OFTEN have visual migraines. At one unfortunate time a visual migraine came on suddenly while I was on the freeway. It was the most terrifying experience of my life.
wackdoodle wackdoodle 9 years
Migraine is caused by the rapid dilation of the blood vessels in the brain not the constriction of the blood vessels this rapid opening of the blood vessels in the brain causes the intense pain referred to as "headache" but its not the only symptom or life-threatening issue occurring during an attack. The medications used to try resolve migraines called abortives are vasodilators. They rapidly cause the blood vessels of the brain and entire body to constrict. If a migraine was the constriction of blood vessels in the brain and a migrianuer took an abortive they would have a massive stroke as the blood vessels in their brain would close completely. From the National Migraine Association M.A.G.N.U.M., which is where my neurologist who treats me for severe migraine disease referred me for basic info. MYTH: A MIGRAINE IS JUST A BAD HEADACHE. REALITY: MIGRAINE IS A DISEASE, A HEADACHE IS ONLY A SYMPTOM. IN ADDITION, THE CAUSE OF MIGRAINE PAIN IS THE OPPOSITE OF THE CAUSE OF HEADACHE PAIN. "Migraine is disease, a headache is only a symptom. Migraine pain is caused by vasodilation in the cranial blood vessels (expansion of the blood vessels), while headache pain is caused by vasoconstriction (narrowing of the blood vessels)." I am sorry to be all bitchy on this but I am currently off from work and fighting with the City because they believe the misinformation and poor understanding between a temporary issue of a headache vs unpredictable disease like migraine. You wouldn't believe how many GPs have no clue that migraines aren't headaches, that migraine is classified as a disease and that they don't always have triggers, don't always include head pain, don't always make you nauseated and so on. Sometimes they just cause you to go temporarily blind, have slurred speech, cause you to black out, and severe vertigo (all of which recently happened to me). It would be cute if cold triggered me to have migraines but no. Simply being triggers my migraines.
Spectra Spectra 9 years
I get headaches when the atmospheric pressure changes as well. Luckily, they are never that severe, but they are sort of uncomfortable. I also have asthma, but I don't seem to notice it getting any worse in the winter unless I get a cold.
hholbert hholbert 9 years
yeah i've been having a lot of headaches lately
beingtazim beingtazim 9 years
i get daily headaches and sinus pain around my sore knees and hands. :(
ilanac13 ilanac13 9 years
the other night i started to get a migraine and it was because the weather turned really hot from being really cold - and it was super dry - i guess there is some science to it
emalove emalove 9 years
I suffer from severe daily headaches...I have for most of my life. They're mostly due to my TMJ pain and my year-round allergies/chronic sinusitis. But I'm sure the weather also plays a role...this was interesting for me to read.
susanec susanec 9 years
Maxalt-MLT and topomax.
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
I have a wire in one arm thanks to a really bad break a few years back, and every time it gets a little bit cold (I'm talking San Diego cold--55 degrees) my arm hurts like crazy.
kiddylnd kiddylnd 9 years
Susanec yes, my migraines come on with the atmospheric pressure changes. Well, for the most part. I actually have several triggers, but here in Seattle it's more common for my migraines to occur when the weather changes, especially in the late fall when we have Indian Summer days followed up by a week of stormy weather. BOO! Thanks goodness for Imetrex and Topomax. :)
susanec susanec 9 years
Sorry, didn't see that reference with sinus headaches, but a large percentage of "sinus" headaches are migraine and mistreated.
susanec susanec 9 years
A bigger part of the problem with migraine is the change in pressure, with storm systems, not necessarily the cold itself.
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
Good to know, luckily I'm not one of these people.
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
I suffer from both horrible sinus headaches AND severe Asthma AND live in an extreamly cold and dry climate! Gez louis when can I get a break!
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