Is My Headache Caused by the Weather?
by Daphne Thompson, on Jan 26, 2018 2:25:52 PM
Do you ever have one of those mornings where you just wake up with a headache? Or maybe the day is going just fine and then as the wind changes and clouds roll in, your head begins to hurt. Sure, it may be caused by work stress, but it may also be caused by the weather.
Those who suffer from migraines know that many things can cause them to occur. Flickering lights, strong smells, alcohol, and specific foods can all be triggers. Unfortunately, weather can also be a factor for migraines and for regular headaches too. When the atmospheric pressure drops, the probability of having a headache tends to increase.
A sudden increase in temperature or humidity can happen before storms begin to form. It's also not unusual for the winds to increase, after all, they are the result of pressure differences. While some may think their headache is related to allergies, the real trigger could be weather-related. Known as barometric pressure headaches, they tend to occur when a storm system with associated low pressure arrives.
So, what is barometric pressure? It is the force exerted on all of us by the atmosphere and is measured with a barometer. We are surrounded by a thin blanket of air that is pressing down on us all the time. Areas of Earth heat up or cool down depending on the amount of heat they receive from the sun, meaning that the temperature varies significantly from location to location. Cold air sinks away from the poles, and warm air rises from the equator as the planet tries to come to equilibrium. Add to that, the constant rotation of the Earth and the air begins to spin. If the spin is clockwise, you have high pressure, when counter-clockwise then you have low pressure. A hurricane would be an example of a low-pressure area. In the heat of the summer, domes of high pressure can lead to droughts. Highs and lows form and dissipate continuously.
You may now be wondering how a change in pressure relates to headaches. Well, our sinuses and eardrums are always experiencing these differences in the weather. If the pressure outside your sinus cavity is different than that on the inside, a headache can begin. While there may be no way to control the weather, you can at least keep track of it with our RadarScope and Weather Radio apps. Once you know the forecast, you can be prepared with a bottle of ibuprofen or acetaminophen for when the weather changes.