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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?

beachgrl beachgrl 8 years
this doesnt suprise me, the weather does fluctuate like crazy these days....blame it on global warming i guess =( but i also take allergy medicine because i find i get sinus headaches a lot this time of year
Allytta Allytta 8 years
all my headaches ( that don't happen too often) are somehow related to weather. usually to the pressure. if it goes higher or lower i feel like crap, sleepy and with a headache. been like this since i was 10, and my mom is just like that.
medicgirl medicgirl 8 years
I always get migraines when the pressure changes, I live in a really windy area. Now I get Botox every 3 months and it has done wonders for my headaches...bring on the wind!! I will have to pay more attention to temp changes though.
mehollowell mehollowell 8 years
I figured this out as a young teen when I always got migraines.
Symphonee Symphonee 8 years
I totally agree, kscincotta. It snowed and then went it to the mid 70's. The migraine almost kept me from going to work.
Faylinn Faylinn 8 years
This is really interesting and I think it might explain for my recent bouts of headaches. The weather has been going all over the place from 15 to 60 degrees pretty quickly. Right now it's 20 degrees and two days ago it was 55. Yeah, this sounds about right.
kscincotta kscincotta 8 years
Well, it went from snowing to 80 degrees in less than a week and I ended up in bed with a splitting headache yesterday. So even though I don't really buy this study, I guess I can relate.
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
Oh wow, how odd.
miss-malone miss-malone 8 years
Interesting... it's the opposite for me actually though, a drop in temperature after a warm day will sometimes give me a headache or sinus pressure.
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