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Barometric Pressure Headaches: Is the Weather Causing your Headaches?

Updated on May 16, 2010
Changes in air pressure can lead to headaches
Changes in air pressure can lead to headaches

A barometric pressure headache can happen when the air pressure surrounding you swiftly alters. These headaches are essentially migraines, which are inflamed blood vessels in the brain, and if the barometric pressure plummets, your blood vessels try too hastily to make up for the sudden change in weather and end up irritated.

According to a study conducted by the American Headache Society, roughly 13% of adults endure migraines. Humidity is a trigger for migraines for about 34% of migraine sufferers while shifts in air pressure trigger barometric pressure headaches in about 13%.

One of the reasons that so few people imagine that they are going through a migraine is because the pain tends to be clustered in the sinus region. Still others do not correlate changes in the weather with their migraines and are cursed to endure these headaches every time the wind changes.

Digital Barometer
Digital Barometer

How the Weather causes Headaches

Those susceptible to experiencing a barometric pressure headache are usually more likely to have one when the air pressure decreases then when the air pressure increases because it often takes a while for air pressure to ascend but air pressure can drop at a very rapid pace. The air pressure diminishes right before a storm starts, so if a weather forecast says damp weather will be making an appearance that afternoon, you have the option to stop a migraine before it happens.

The optimal way to prevent these migraines is to try being attentive to the weather. A good barometer, which will set you back at least $100, can help you figure out exactly what range of air pressures trigger migraines for you. Look for a barometer with a settings option. Once you recognize what air pressure changes give you barometric pressure headaches, you can set an alarm on the barometer to turn on when the air pressure is getting close to your danger zone.

Foods Rich in Magnesium
Foods Rich in Magnesium

Preventing These Headaches

There are other ways to prevent barometric migraines. Try to get some exercise right before a big change in the weather. A raised heart rate makes your body emit endorphins and serotonin which help counter inflamed blood vessels in the brain that contributes to migraines. Taking medication before being faced by a migraine trigger that you cannot avoid is common practice among migraine suffers and impending bad weather is no exception.

Magnesium is a powerful mineral for reducing migraines. This vital mineral helps maintain the inner lining of the blood vessels. Try consuming 200-400 mg a day of a magnesium supplement or have foods rich in magnesium such as fishes like salmon or halibut, black beans, pumpkin seeds or spinach. For numerous migraine sufferers, lying down in a dark room can beat back a migraine. Some even state that taking a walk by a river or a waterfall helps them beat off migraines.

Awareness of Symptoms is the Best Prevention

Many headache sufferers who begin paying attention to the weather are very delighted to learn that with a few easy preventive measures, they can avoid an impending barometric pressure headache. Take the time to jot down your migraines and compare this to weather activities to see if this is a trigger for you.

You can discover additional articles about how to block barometric pressure headaches and other actions to prevent headaches from disturbing your life.


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    • weezyschannel profile image


      4 years ago from Central USA

      my son has migraines in the heat very badly to where he ends up vomiting. I get headaches a LOT,, and I mean a LOT, but only once in a while are they migraines.. They are bad enough for me to lay down and take excedrin migraine, but they don't debilitate me thank goodness!

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I have been trying to find a personal digital barometer that would sound an alarm when the barometric pressure changed in any way. Does anyone know of one?

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I've had these migraines all my life always a day b4 a rain. If it's 2 days + before a rain its going to be really bad weather. The moment I get a headache I look at a barometer its ALWAYS over 30. I'm SO accurate family and people that know me call me 2 see if I have a headache when they plan things. LOL.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I have had a headache for 5 five weeks - the neurologist thinks it's a barometric headache since we have a lot of storms this time of yr. I thought barometric headaches come and go not stay all the time. I'm really confused!

    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 

      8 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      I am plagued by this - luckily it is the only time I have headaches so I count myself lucky - I understand - great article. Will have to try magnesium. All of the foods - that I don't eat - probably not a coincidence.


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