September 22, 2019

Forecasting migraines: New tool for predicting migraines based on changes in weather

Although the specific cause of migraines is unknown, many people can identify certain environmental factors that trigger them. For some people it is unusual or spicy foods and for others it is stressful situations. Or perhaps these disabling headaches occur based on weather changes. Well, migraines may be very unpredictable, but the weather may be less so. And now, thanks to a new tool from AccuWeather, weather and subsequent migraines may be easier to predict.

According to AccuWeather’s blog, variable highs and lows in atmospheric pressure, oppressive heat, extreme humidity, and precipitation can cause the brain’s blood vessels to contract and expand. Migraines and their severe symptoms of nausea, pain, and difficulty functioning often occur because of the changes in the size of blood vessels. In fact, the blog notes that a certain study found that temperature changes with humidity, changes in barometric pressure, and varied weather patterns are the largest contributors to a migraine attack. The particular study was conducted in 2004 in Connecticut where researchers examined migraine sufferers’ diaries and compared them with local weather reports for a period of time. They found that approximately half of the participants reported an onslaught of migraine headaches during weather changes. Moreover, about sixty percent of the individuals felt that they were sensitive to abrupt weather disruptions.

Another study, conducted in Canada, found that individuals also reported more migraines when winds changed in their local region. What’s more is that the individuals in both studies indicated that while weather was an important factor in migraine occurrence, it was only heightened when other conditions, such as stress or lack of sleep, were present. Fortunately, AccuWeather has developed a forecasting tool that allows people to assess what the likelihood of having a migraine due to weather may be. The tool targets a local region and you can see how the weather may impact a migraine suffer on any given day. It rates the likelihood of an attack from a beneficial weather forecast to an extreme risk of developing a migraine.

Perhaps, with tools such as this one, people who live with these difficult headaches can better prepare for their day. If the weather is such that a migraine may occur, a person can try to limit other factors and also ensure that they have their medication. It is just this kind of preemptive treatment that can really allow individuals to better their quality of life without worrying that a disabling headache is just around the corner.


  1. Marc Tanner says

    I have a LaCross weather station and I am a Fibromyalgia, chronic Migrainer, & arthritis in both knees, with the right knee being bone-on-bone, and have Degenerative Disc Disease (Globally) at the ripe old age of 44.

    When the barometric pressure is 29.8 in Hg, then symptoms begin to occur with the joints first and also headaches, when the pressure gets to 29.74 or less, then the right hip socket (deep pain that is a dull ache) begins to appear and when the pressure is 29.65 or less, then “hell breaks loose” (pardon the language).

    I went to my pain management specialist one day and I left the house at 8:30 am, by the time I actually saw the doctor about 2.5hours had passed and when i saw him I said the barometric pressure sure has dropped quickly and dramatically. He asked how I knew and I told him that when I left I was fine and now my hips were hurting, neck was stiff and knees stiff and have a headache.

    So he had his PC in front of him and unbeknown to me he went to a weather site and said you are right; the pressure at 8:30 am was around 29.99 and at that moment it was 29.67 and falling at around 11:15am; a low pressure system was coming in quickly. He was impressed; I was miserable since I was there for my 14th ESI in the lumbar and my body was already aching all over.

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