How weather can affect headaches

Weather can fluctuate dramatically this time of year. 

Whether it's an approaching thunderstorm or a bright sunny day - both can wreak havoc on a headache.

It may be surprising to know just how much weather can affect your headaches. Research shows that changes in barometric pressure can be linked to migraine headache attacks.

"In general, it's usually a fall in barometric pressure, but for many people it doesn't matter," said Dr. Jennifer Kriegler, Cleveland Clinic. "It could be a quick rise in temperature as well, or if there's going to be thunderstorms."

Kriegler says experts aren't exactly sure why weather changes trigger migraine headaches, but they believe that a fall in barometric pressure may force fluid into tissues and cause a disruption in fluid balance.
She says as barometric pressure falls, people who suffer from migraine headaches will often sense it and become stressed.  She says stress hormones can provoke a headache, so managing stress through exercise, deep breathing or relaxation techniques will help.

She says fluid shifts in blood vessels surrounding the brain can cause a headache, so she recommends staying hydrated as well.

"Drink lots of water, pretreat by drinking water before you go outside on a hot, 90-degree humid day," she said. "You can lose up to a liter of fluid an hour so you really have to maintain your fluid balance."

We know that in this kind of weather we're having right now, dehydration is a real risk.  Also keep in mind besides storms, Kriegler says bright light and glare from a sunny day or light flickering through trees while someone is driving, can also trigger a migraine headache.