What About Weather Triggers Migraine Attacks?

News articles and information sources brush “weather” as a migraine trigger with a maddeningly broad stroke. What, exactly, about weather triggers migraines? “Very high temperature, very low temperature, high humidity, low humidity, and barometric pressure change” are the weather features that trigger attacks, according to Cleveland Clinic headache specialist Dr. Stuart Tepper. Great, even the specifics are annoyingly broad!

The Arizona monsoon season, which produces frequent thunderstorms from July to mid-September, was a big concern when we decided to move back to Phoenix. In my ideal world, I’d spend July and August soaking up the glory of Seattle summers, but that’s not exactly in the budget now that we’ve started our own business. Fortunately, both last summer and this year wonderful people have offered me places to stay, either as a guest or house sitter.

Figuring out where to go based on weather factors is proving quite difficult. Clouds and rain are the most obvious weather markers connected to my migraine attacks, but it seems unlikely that clouds themselves are the trigger. It is more plausible that barometric pressure is at fault, but, even though WeatherSpark provides terrific graphical data, I haven’t been able to correlate attacks with either high or low pressure or changes in pressure. Also, the headache specialist I saw in Boston told me that if barometric pressure were the issue, flying would trigger migraine attacks for me, which it doesn’t.

Do I go to the town with steady barometric pressure but high cloud cover? Or the city that has a short cloud cover each afternoon? What about the place that is windy? I can’t decide. For now, I’ll continue to input cities and towns into WeatherSpark and compare the variables. I’m tempted to wait it out in Phoenix this year so I can see how monsoon season really affects me, if it does at all. At least I wouldn’t have to be apart from my husband for two months that way.