Virginia Thornley, M.D.
October 9, 2019
A common question that is asked in the office setting is whether weather changes can increase migraines.
In one study of 98 patients followed 45 days, higher humidity between the warm months of April and September correlated with increase number of migraines (1).
In a 7-year study of ER patients, an increase of barometric pressure resulted in more ER visits by patients with migraine. There were less visits when it was a decrease in pressure. There was no correlation with migraine with the actual magnitude of barometric pressure change. Tropical air masses correlated with more ER visits compared to polar masses (2).
In a smaller study of 28 patients followed over 1 year, weather changes correlated with increased migraine frequency in 64%. 14 of those reported low barometric pressure to be associated with it (3).
In summary, despite some mixed results regarding reduction of barometric pressure, if a weather change affects a patient’s underlying condition, it is likely a trigger.
This is information only not advice please see your doctor.
- Li, W., Bertisch, S.M., Motofsky, E., Buettner, C., Mittleman, M.A., Weather, ambient air pollution, and risk of migraine headache onset among patients with migraine. Environ. Int. 2019, 132:105100
- Elcik, C., Fuhrmann, C.M., Mercer, A.E., Davis, R.E., Relationship between air mass type and emergency department visits for migraine headaches across Triangle region of North Carolina. Int. J. Biometeor. 2017, Dec. 61(12):2245-2254
- Kimoto, K., Alba, S., Takashima, R., Suzuki, K., Takekawa, H., Watanabe, Y., Tatsumoto, M., Hirata, K., Influence of barometric pressure in patients with migraine headache. Intern Med. 2011. 50(18):1923-8