Coping, Triggers

Sunny Weather = Fewer Migraines? The Everlasting Hunt for Triggers

Seattle from Kerry ParkYummy food, Rock Band, neighborhood walks, warm weather. Mild chronic daily headache levels and nothing more than moderate migraine symptoms. That’s what the last four days have been like for me. I’ve been so happy.

Is the convergence a coincidence? The good mood and beautiful weather certainly go together; the mild pain and weather do, too. On the big question, if mild pain and great weather are related, I have no answer.

Most people with migraine — I don’t know about other headache disorders — will tell you that weather is definitely a trigger. Researchers and headache specialists agree. Unfortunately, data are sparse and self-reports of headache pain and weather connections are inherently flawed. According to a Mayo Clinic neurologist,

Several studies suggest that weather changes trigger migraine headaches in some individuals. Study results indicate that some people who have migraines appear to be more sensitive to weather changes, such as changes in weather patterns, temperature, absolute humidity and barometric pressure. The mechanism by which these factors may trigger migraines in these individuals isn’t known.

There’s no clear evidence of a link between weather changes and other types of headaches.

Changes in weather patterns, temperature, absolute humidity and barometric pressure are potential triggers. Anyone with migraine is prone to a migraine episode from any change in weather? A little vague, isn’t it.

This is no different than saying I’m more likely to trip on a curb when the sun is shining than when it isn’t. Finding a reason should be easy. Some possibilities: I spend more time on sidewalks when the weather is nice. I’m looking around and not paying attention. Or the shoes I wear when it isn’t raining don’t fit as well as my winter shoes. Or the sun is so bright I can’t see the step. Or there are so many people in the crosswalk I can’t see where I’m going. Or the coffee I had made me shaky.

You get the point. Isolating variables in everyday life is impossible. Maybe two or three parts of my tripping scenario are to blame. Could be just one or something altogether different. I could trip on a Tuesday and again on Saturday. Unlikely that they will have the same cause.

I understand all this rationally, but still want to know what’s triggering my migraines! I’m second guessing every possible angle. Funny that when my chronic daily headache or migraine is bad I search for a reason. And when they are good, I search for a reason. Sounds like someone has control issues.

I cannot change the weather and I haven’t had any luck in tracking its relation to my head. Even if I could know when the weather would trigger a migraine, I don’t know if I’d want to. I don’t care if I can predict a migraine two days in advance. I can’t change it and I’ll spend the interim anxious it will hit any moment.

Have you found a strong correlation between weather and your migraines or headaches? Is it useful information to have? Answer on the online support group and forum or leave a comment below.

52 thoughts on “Sunny Weather = Fewer Migraines? The Everlasting Hunt for Triggers”

  1. Northern Illinois here and migraines are a way of life for me and a few siblings. I have many triggers and have been working closely w/ my doctors to figure out others. I too am VERY sensitive to weather. Not only the barometer before it starts to move, but during it’s movement too. When the temperature changes 25 degrees between daytime and nighttime. I would really like to know which United State is best to live in to avoid these issues. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

  2. I live in Canada, Vancouver I get a mild migraine everyday and harsh ones at least once a week. If I travel in Canada I get severe motion sickness…

    I’m in Texas right now. I don’t have any migraines. Same thing happened when Inwas in the Peruvian jungle (had migraines in Cusco though)

    When I’m in Texas and Peruvian jungle I also do not get motion sickness unless I’m reading.

    In Canada or Vancouver id get it 5 mins even if I’m not reading.

    I feel great (still in Texas)

    To think I’ve been thinking it was food triggers and been avoiding so many things… but I’ve been able to eat everything here!!!

    Vancouver has a lot of clouds and mountains that hold the rain over us. But I found even on a sunny clear day I got migraines in Vancouver.

    I’m thinking… magnetic field? I get less lost here too!!

  3. I lived in Silicon Valley almost my entire life and was very healthy. I was even an athlete and coach. In 2007 all at once I became ill with atypical migraines and the triggers were light, noise and barometric pressure changes. If you know the area, a million people and many freeways, cars and constant airplanes overhead creates noise all the time. The barometer is always changing due to proximity to the Pacific Ocean.
    I was sick all the time!
    I moved to Fort Collins Colorado (5000 ft) which is sunny and semi-arid. All Winter no rain and in the Summer it’s here and gone fast (not a cold all-day rain). No freeways or airport around where people live (1 hour to the airport).
    It’s QUIET!
    Yes it snows, and melts fast. Powder and not icy.
    Sun is an issue at this altitude so sunglasses, air condititioning and watching my hydration are a must.
    This area works for me!

  4. I am “deathly” allergic to mold, and I have been since I was teaching swimming every day as a teen (I’m now in my 60’s) I love Paris, but I can’t go into restaurants that seat you in the underground (cave) area. I wanted to tell you all that Sudafed has saved my life. (Literally – when I slept in a basement apartment that had a water leak behind a wall) I take more anti-histamines than I should but if I combine the Sudafed with Excedrine Migraine I can usually keep on working.

  5. Found this interesting. Please notify me when there are new posts. In search of answers to alleviate migraines. Thanks

  6. I live in Minnesota I used to get 20 migraines a month and then I started to realize that a major trigger is fragrance. Not just perfume or cologne but dryer sheets, laundry detergent, air freshener, even lotion or deodorant that was scented. I would notice if I went to target and went down the aisle with that stuff I would slowly start getting a worse and worse headache until it became a migraine. Now I wear a carbon mask when I shop and take showers when I get home and I get only two migraines a month! It has changed my life. I changed everything I use from shampoo to Chapstick to Unscented and it makes a huge difference. That is why some people with migraines find living near the ocean helps because it gives you a source of fresh air. Also fragrance in cleaning products I cut that out too as well as dry cleaning and lawn fertilizers or pesticides. I live in Minnesota and I only get about one migraines a month due to weather. But the winters are so hard. I want to move.

    1. The Fragrance industry is using chemicals that mimic fragrance. So you (and I) are allergic to the synthetic formulation. If I get in an elevator (or on public Transportation) and there is a person on there who has lots of perfume on, I will get off as soon as I can and wait for the next one. Patchouli oil is the worst!
      I wanted to say that my migraines are triggered by the weather, and if that is combined with wine or sugar, I get a truly BAD one. So I learn to monitor how my head is feeling before I eat the tempting stuff. It has also become worse as I age. I don’t think it’s because of accumulated effects (BTW I think a detox is a great idea) but I also think I live more consciously now. I cook everything I can from scratch. That’s hard if you don’t cook, but if you find a community what wants to combine efforts for cooking in a healthy way, you might find new friends and fewer headaches. Hormones and Barometric Pressure – perhaps we need to watch our health, our thoughts, and our intentions too. We are just all so complicated. We create chemicals in our bodies with our thoughts (this isn’t a tirade) I just think we need to detox what we can, as we go along the path.
      I truly sympathize with all of you. This sharing of ideas and information is wonderful!

  7. I have been headache prone most of my life but the last year or so, I have started noticing that I am getting terrible migraines when the weather changes. Even before the wind kicks up and the weather changes, here it comes! I have been taking butalbital/caffeine/aspirin caps. if they get bad. I steer clear of the headache no, no list (crunchy, aged, dairy, and anything with chemicals or preservatives). I have noticed that if I don’t go outside it helps but some days you have to. Living in New York State we do have a lot of changes in weather and I was looking into a better place with less barometric changes so, I’m glad my internet search took me here.

  8. I started researching weather correlations to migraines because I have finally found some relief. My migraines started in my early 30’s. I have a history of terrible allergies. Finally went on the European sublingual drops that some ENTs offer & have completely fixed that issue. I have serious drug allergies & am allergic to MOST prescription drugs. However, like many of you I have been on preventatives for years. On & off because after about 2 years they just stop working. The Triptons for the most part will relieve one & in severe cases after 3 days I go to a low steroid which then ends it. I have lived all over Alabama from the beach to central & low lying western area. Wasn’t good for me. Spent a lot of time in California & Arizona & I can’t say they where without migraines. I think Northern California was good & Southern California too. Less than the other areas. If you are looking to go oversees, I had 0 in Scottland & Ireland. That is amazing if you filter in lack of sleep alcohol & coming off the diet. Moved to Orlando, Fl & had plenty. There’s always a slight wind blowing & you get the heavy ocean current storms. The most amazing thing is when I moved to Palm Coast Florida where the wind blows constantly & the air is always salty that I have been migraine free for 4 months & counting. I still take 1 preventative but took myself off the 2nd daily. I do hope this streak continues when summer hits because the heat will tell the tale. Best to all you fellow migraineers.

  9. I have lived here in Arizona since 2003 and in January-December I get migraines that bring on stroke like symptoms. Whichever side of the head the migrain is on my face will sag as if I had a stroke. No migraine medication has help, after countless visits to my doctor and ER, they finally gave me Sumatriptan injection USP 6mg. After 10 seconds of using this pen, you fill a warming affect from the top of your head down to your neck. After 20 seconds your migraine starts to ease away. 3-5 minutes, its completely gone. Arizona is not a good place for me and that is just my opinion.

  10. I just moved to California from Georgia and have been having horrendous migraines for the last 6 days that we have been here with hardly any reprieve in between. I was talking to someone today and they said that it is likely related to pollution and the wildfires that have been happening out here.

    I didn’t know that this was a thing. I’m used to dealing with joint pain from changes in barometric pressure but I’m only 25… I feel like I’m too young for my body to be this sensitive to the climate.

    Anyhow, thanks for shedding some light on the subject. I feel better knowing that I’m not the only one experiencing this phenomenon.

  11. It’s been really nice to read everyone’s different perspectives on migraines, and I wish I could say they have helped me, but unfortunately I live in Los Angeles (where the weather is “perfect”) and have been suffering from migraines non stop. Im four months pregnant, and what used to be just daily tension headaches are most often turning into severe migraines that last days.

    I feel helpless, as doctors just give me more drugs that will harm the baby. I’ve taken Vicodin now and then but it only helps if I catch the headache before it becomes a full blown migraine.

    Does anybody have experience with ” pregnancy or hormonal migraines”? I am 30, and have suffered from migraines and cronic headaches my whole life, but never to this severity and frequency!

    Thanks so much,

  12. Hi Kelly, Coletta, Tara and everyone who reads these posts,

    I haven’t been on this site for a few years and so I never saw some of your posts. When I read them, there seems to be so many people who get migraines from changes in barometric pressure, which wasn’t our case, at all. It seems that migraines are this multi-causal condition – no wonder there is such difficulty trying to discover the underlying causes. I’m sure that there are many sub types of migraine, and I would suspect that those who suffer worse migraines in the winter may be helped by the measures that we used regarding chronic seasonal (fall-winter-spring) migraines. For changes in barometric pressure, could it possibly be that people affected by this already have borderline high intracranial pressure due to fluid/sodium retention and the pressure variation pushes them over the migraine threshold? I don’t know. Perhaps it would worth an experiment, cutting sodium-containing foods (att’n-most of it is concealed in food such as canned tomatoes, sauce, etc.) and seeing if that makes any difference. I think that one can be tested for fluid retention, if you can find a doctor open minded enough to try it. There has to be something that we are doing now that we didn’t do in the past because chronic migraines are a relatively recent phenomena and I read somewhere (if I could find the article on my computer!) that it was in either the 1980’s or the 1990’s that there was a sudden explosion of chronic migraine cases in the U.S. which some researchers called an epidemic. What did we start doing at that time, what changed in our lifestyles? The industrial food industry flourished, processed foods with flavour enhancers such as msg, hvp and salt are in almost everything. I’m sure there’s other stuff too, which was introduced into food. The epidemic use of sun screen also came into being (vitamin D deficiency) and people did much less activity outdoors (less exposure to visible light for serotonin production). We also started exposing ourselves to blue visible light (used in light lamps to stimulate serotonin) at the wrong time of the day, through computer monitors and tv, during the evening, when we should be shifting into the melatonin cycle (stimulated by low light). I can’t imagine what damage to our health will be wrought by the replacement of books by e-books (I’m not a dinosaur!) as they bombard us with blue visible light (unless they modify them the reduce the light emanation, by example, by printing light letters on a dark background) A recent study, published in The Guardian (which is an excellent journal, by the way), found that young people who typically view computer screens in the evening, have so disturbed their melatonin cycle that they have become insomniacs, having no more than 5 to 6 hours of sleep per night. I’m so worried about the next generation. Imagine all of the chronic illnesses they may suffer, as a consequence? Can anyone tell me why, despite these studies, that we are closing our libraries and bookstores?
    In my research into pharmaceutical drugs and headache and migraine, I did not find one class of medication that did not cause possible side effects’ including headache, and that goes for seemingly innocuous medications such as Minocycline which was linked, in one medical case study, with aseptic meningitis and migraine in young adolescents who were taking it for acne.
    There is more and more evidence that the digestive system is implicated in neurological conditions, including migraines. It isn’t really surprising since many young migrainers are misdiagnosed as having nervous tummy aches (and told to go and see a psychologist) when what they are really having are abdominal migraines which typically evolve into regular migraines around puberty. I read an article recently that indicated that over 90% of serotonin receptors are actually found in the intestines. I have met one person who claimed to be cured of her migraines after a cleanse and a subsequent change in her diet. Could it be that there is an intestinal dysbiosis that could favour an imbalance in brain chemistry that possibly may trigger migraines?
    It is an established fact that migraines are part of a constellation of illnesses and medical conditions, amongst which are; irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, auto-immune diseases such as ms, arthritis and allergies, diabetes I and II, cardiac illness, cancer of the colon, breast and prostate, anxiety, depression, insomnia and others which I’ve forgotten, no doubt. These are also the conditions which vitamin D researchers have identified as being linked to a low vitamin D status. There is no evidence that just because one has migraines that one is susceptible to have the others, don’t worry. It is just that these things run in families. For example, one of my sons had chronic migraines and insomnia, my other one has anxiety and I had migraines, irritable bowel syndrome when I was young, mild fibromyalgia, food and nickel allergies, food intolerances, sorbitol intolerance, and insomnia, my mother had migraines and still has insomnia and a few allergies and my father had food allergies and anxiety. There you go, the constellation they were talking about.

    I really believe that the cure for migraines may be found by keeping our feet on the ground and keenly observing. The cures are not necessary going to be found by some guys in lab coats, financed by pharmaceutical companies, though I am not, at all, anti-science. My education was in architecture (science and design), and good design is elegant and simple, though the process to get there is anything but simple. I think that essential truths have an elegant simplicity to them and that if we fail to look at the overall trends and patterns regarding migraines, we will lose perspective of the whole thing. It is essentially a creative process, research that is, an exercise of looking outside of the box, questioning things that we assume to be true or which we are told is true. I have noticed that many medical studies confound causation and correlation, which astounded me. For example, many neurologists say that migraines are caused by depression, intimating that you are suffering migraines because you are depressed (i.e., it is your fault, you’re nuts and I’m off the hook) The truth, if one reads the research literature, is that there is a correlation between the two, not a causation. It appears that there is a common cause, let’s say maybe, low serotonin status, that causes both migraines and depression in some individuals. There is, of course, another possibility, that anyone suffering chronic migraine may become depressed due to the pain, the isolation, loss of job, stress on relationships, etc. (duh). That is the opposite process that I heard presented to several migraine sufferers.

    II was so moved by your kind comments and I feel bad that I lost the link to this site and didn’t keep up. (I found it by chance by googling myself, what a space cadet!) I wish you all courage. Bless you all for your kindness and generosity. We’ll get through this somehow.


  13. Maureen- God Bless you for sharing all of your research and taking the time to post it all here. I am looking into what you have shared- thank you!

  14. Hi Maureen:
    Thank you so much for you informative posts!!! I will be trying light therapy and the Vit. D. I have tried may preventatives; such as knowing and avoiding all of my known triggers to all of the Doctor prescribed medications (Which are my least favorite!). I would rather try a natural preventive 🙂
    Thank you for sharing your research, I have been blessed and you have given me hope. These migraines 3-4 times a week Oct. – through April/May truly destroy my quality of life!
    May the Lord bless you for taking he time to share,

  15. My husband lost his job so we decided to go on an adventure to find out where my perfect spot would be. I suffered 10-15 migraines a month in Cincinnati, Ohio. I lived there most of my life and suffered terribly. We traveled to Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Still not the relief I was looking for, there were still quite a few weather changes. We then traveled to Gilbert, Az. I felt better there due to the limited rainfall and few barometric pressure changes. We stayed there for 5 months. We then tried living by the ocean in Alabama. Worst mistake of my life. Constant pressure changes with a lot of humidity. I was sick with a migraine almost everyday. When your raising 3 little boys, not the ideal situation being stuck in bed day after day. We stayed there 5 months before I couldn’t take it any longer. We then decided to move to Goodyear, Az. We have been here for 10 months and I can honestly say I average 1-2 headaches a month!!! The move here has been life changing for me. The 1-2 headaches a month did come when we had a monsoon, but they are not that frequent and they pass quickly. I have never felt better in my life. I can finally be a part of my family instead of spending my days in bed in the dark. It has truly been a blessing for me.

  16. I have been telling ppl that the weather triggers my migraines. I live in Detroit, MI. I take a natural herbal supplement called petadolex twice a day. I migraines have lightened up but this Michigan weather is horrible for migraines…I wish everyone migraine sufferer success in finding relief, we need it!!!

  17. I have severe migraines here in the desert. Don’t move to Arizona for relief. I wont work out. When the monsoons and barometric pressure changes I can be sick from a day to several days. I too want to chop off my head! I am considering relocating but do not know where to go as my husband LOVES this place. Oh God!
    I want to thank everyone for their posts. I found them very helpful and I don’t feel alone anymore.

  18. I live in Southern Ontario, Canada. I’ve suffered from migraine for as long as I can remember. My mother used to take me to the hospital ER as a 4 y/o so I could be sedated. I’m almost 46 now. I’d estimate that I experience 80 – 100 episodes per year. For me, I have no doubt migraines are barometrically triggered. (Flying induces the same discomfort.)

    The actual weather is not problematic. It can be raining cats and dogs outside and I’m perfectly fine. That said; within the last 24 hours we’ve seen the pressure drop from 102.1 KPa to 100.2 KPa, and my head feels like it is going to pop like a zit.

    Alternately, a week ago when the barometer rocketed from from 99.8 KPa to a high of 102.4 KPa in less than 24 hours, going from rain to full on sunny skies… you guessed it… Migraine.

    Fortunately I can log on to the server and work from home quite a bit.

    I,ve tried all the preemptive and abortive medications, NSAID’s, even been administered demerol and torodol.

    Currently, I just take copious amounts of ibuprophen during the onset. Sometimes I’ll take a bath as hot as I can stand to improve dilation of the arteries and veins. When the throbbing gets really bad I put a tourniquet around my head. It looks pretty ridiculous, but at least I can function, working from home, anyhow.

    Suffice to say, I have an abnormally high threshold for pain. When I broke a tooth recently, the dentist would not perform the extraction due to an underlying infection beneath the gum. The visit cost me a 140 bucks, and all i got was a prescription for penicillin and an appointment two weeks later. Since it was a molar that already had received a root canal, I knew it could not be saved. I pulled it out myself, that evening. It’s healed up fine. No dry socket or anything. LOL.

  19. Sorry, Tara, I never consulted the site to see if there were any comments. In fact, regarding my son, his migraines gradually came back in October, as they had the two years before, so I knew that vitamin D was not the whole story. I went back to research and discovered a study that was done by a researcher in Sao Paolo, Brazil, a Mario Perez, on sufferers of chronic migraine who also suffer from insomnia (this is quite common). He found that they had abnormally low levels of melatonin during the night time; the melatonin peak, which normally is around midnight, was phased off two to three hours (explanation for the difficulty falling asleep); their levels of cortisol (stress hormone) during the night were abnormally high,and; their projesterone nighttime levels were also perturbed. I was immediately struck by the similarity of these irregularities, esp. in the melatonin/serotonin metabolism, to the syndrome of seasonal effective disorder (SAD). I had not considered this as a primary concern as my son, despite his pain and disability, is not depressive at all. However,it is highly possible that problems with the serotonin/melatonin metabolism may lead to illnesses other than depression. So I decided to treat him with light therapy and spent some time researching various luminotherapy products. I settled on a Canadian product, the Litebook, as it was well researched (You can access the studies in Pubmed) and as it concentrates it’s visible light in the more efficient blue range, one only has to use it for 1/2 hour each morning rather than 1 hour, which seemed to be more reasonable where a teenager is concerned! It is also light, small and portable and can be used when charged without electricity. It also has adapters for European and Asian countries. (It does have one fault, however, being sensitive to electrical current surges, so don’t attempt to use in ungrounded outlets – we burned out three, before realizing we had an electrical ground problem in our house!) My son had three migraine days per week when we received the unit, and, once he started using the lamp, his migraines spontaneously disappeared for five weeks. I have observed that he will get migraines after three or four days not using the lamp. We have kept up with the vitamin D supplementation (in our case, via uvb lamp) as I found several studies that demonstrate that vitamin D is necessary for the synthesis of serotonin in the body. Makes me wonder whether light therapy may not work on individuals that are vitamin D deficient.
    And about the thyroid, Tara, I don’t know whether it is hypo or hyper, but I have been doing some digging about the causes of thyroid conditions and it seems that estrogenic toxins (pcb’s, bpa’s…etc.) imitate estrogens in the body and that our thyroid glands, being regulators of various hormones, are particularly sensitive to estrogenic toxins. The beluga whales in the St. Laurence river have been found to have extremely high levels of pcb contamination and multiple nodules and tumours on their thyroid glands. These toxins are fat soluble, and one researcher suggested that the best we can do is to avoid eating any animal product’s fat or skin (including that of fish) One study of harbor seals on the Maine coast found that these toxins are absorbed at a rate of over 75% into their organisms and pass, via the mother’s milk, at a rate of over 90% into the body of the nursing seals. So much for the theory of biomagnification. For bpa, there was a study just last week on the CTV news of a family whose bpa levels dropped dramatically when they eliminated canned goods from their diet. Apparently, the bpa in the interior coating of the tin cans, leach into the food, especially if the food is acidic or basic (doesn’t that cover everything?!)
    Unfortunately,our country’s health warnings (Health Canada), similarly to the American equivalent, base their standards on studies that are often funded by the very industries whose products – or effluence from their products) are in question. The bpa guidelines for example, are based largely on a study that was done by researchers at Harvard, funded by the American Plastics Council (sad but true). They found, after a suspicious publishing delay of 2 1/2 years that bpa’s had negligable affects on human health as did a mojority of the industry-funded studies. However, a vast majority of independently funded research (government and university) found serious health hazards in the consommation levels of bpa’s, some, in fact, that caused disturbing genetic mutations. A later, comprehensive study made by independant university researchers of all of the preceding studies on bpa’s found that the conclusions of the studies were highly biased by the bodies funding the studies.
    Well, good luck. The sad thing is that we can’t trust the appropriate people to act on our behalf and we are thus left to our own devices to solve our or our loved one’s health problems. The cruel reality is that if one is sick, one doesn’t have the wherewithall to do the research, and anyone who has ever had a migraine knows that cognitive function is temporarily compromised during migraine attacks, and even if one wanted to work through the pain, one is often not able to do the complex thinking that research requires.
    All I can say, Tara, is… don’t give up. Keep trying new things. Maybe the light therapy will work for you. I told my son that finding the solution to his migraines would be like peeling an onion, layer by layer. We did, after several years, find the solution…
    And all the best..

  20. Currently I live in Toronto, Canada and I have severe headaches all year round. After tons of MRIs CTs and other investigations the doctors say it’s a chronic migrane and there’s no possibility to cure it. I’m sensitive to barometric pressure changes and I’m considering to move to another city. I’ve reseached the situation on the Internet and found out that the best cities for me could be: San Diego, LA, Phoenix and Las Vegas, but I’m still not sure where to go… Any ideas? Thanks beforehand!

  21. What about eating bad foods, nothing nutritious, just processed crap? How bout being unable to discipline a child? Could this lead to migraines? The stress of not wanting to deal with something, could that lead to migraines? Could spending all ur money frivolously lead to migraines? I just wonder, so stressed out and unable to make any changes or positive things til i can figure out what is causing these migraines. Do you think trying medications, but stopping them after a few days or few weeks, do you think this could contribute? What about jealousy?
    I’ve had migraines for years, but they seem to have gotten worse the more my life deteriorates.
    Any advice more than welcome.

  22. Update: I moved to California about 9 months ago and my migraines are now history. The stable sunny skies and me are getting along famously!

    1. Where in California did you move to?
      I dos really well in Greece one summer which I think has comparative weather dry and sunny.

  23. Wow Thanks Maureen! Did your son find a solution? was it vit d supplementation? I am in Canada too and seeing a funcitonal specialist. I am on thyroid medication which helps a little but not a lot. My next try is cortisone for adrenal glands. I have tried ssri’s but get worse migraines. I have tried neurontin, topirmate, propanol, amitryptyline. I get daily severe migraines-worse with weather triggers and if I abort them they come back later in the day. I have lost my job due to my sickness and have troule finding a new one due to my sickness and being off. Oh yeah the doctors treat me like I am crazy too. I am going to look up the things you suggested. I have also read about the sodium-water retention connection. Something to do with whatever is wrong with me which i feel is undiagnosed autoimmune is making me have episodes of this. Interesting about the antibiotics. Recently i had a laparscopy for endometriosis and put on antibiotics-i gained 15lbs of fluid retention during my 6wk recovery. There is a connection between CFS, endometriosis and migraines and that they may be autoimmune. I really wish i could find a solution and try to get back the life I have lost in the last 5 years. I am only 40 years old and a single mother. I am about to lose my house if things don’t change here soon…

  24. you are not going to want to live in the desert if you get migraines. have you ever seen those desert hallucination art cultural refrences,
    well from my experience they are nothing compared to the headaches you get here. it does let you blame the “desert on the head ache and when it is over a hundred degrees here and the direct sun is obvious you will remember nothing else but blaming the climate on the headache.

  25. P.S. I forgot the most important thing. Don’t worry, if it is indeed a vitamin D deficiency problem, you can remedy it with either vitamin D3 supplementation (see Dr. Holick’s research for levels) or with a certified uvb lamp. The lamp is recommended for those who may have a malabsorption problem such as crohnes, colitis, ibs, or other conditions that compromise absorption of supplemental vitamin D. Get a reputable medical lab to test your vitamin D levels – the best time is when you are at your yearly low, just before you expose yourself to the sun in the spring. That will give you your base level. But any reading will give you an idea. Of course, the true test is whether your symptoms improve upon supplementation.
    If any of you are interested in learning more about metabolic systems, there is a great blog on the subject by the daughter of the founder of the Metametrix lab in Duluth, Georgia – I forget her name – but there is a link from the Metametrix site – it could be called the Metametrix Institute..
    Good luck!

  26. My son suffered from chronic migraine – like headaches that started as occasional migraines in the summer, and became more frequent and severe through mid-October, to February, when he would lock in to chronic headaches. Once chronic, the nausea and vomiting would become progressively worse until mid May (this year, mid-April, as I suspected a vitamin D deficiency and bought a uvb lamp.) when they would spontaneously stop. He didn’t respond to any medications, either prophylactic or abortive. The neurologists – all five of them – were of no use to him – cookie-cutter physicians, prescribing the requisite triptans, etc. – you know the routine. Oh yes, and if the drugs don’t work then you must have psychological problems. Lack of intellectual curiousity and blank expressions (the deer in the headlights look) when asked whether my son may have a metabolic problem – or a malabsorption problem (he was on antibiotics for acne for 2 years!). My questions were met with hostility and sarcasm. So I went to work, doing my own research.
    It took me 2 years sifting through medical papers and case studies, and I plan to self- publish what I have found in order to help others (and ask some pertinent questions about the medical and pharmaceutical professions). My tentative conclusion for my son is that he has a problem with his fat metabolism and isn’t able to put his vitamin D into storage in his body fat. The half-life of circulating vitamin D is 15 days, so once he is no longer exposed to the sun, he gradually gets sicker, quickly exhausting his meager stores, until the next spring when he is exposed to the sun again. I would suggest that anyone suffering from migraines, esp. of a seasonal nature, read the latest research paper on Vitamin D deficiency published in the New England Journal of Medicine, July 19th, 2007 titled, Vitamin D Deficiency, by Dr. Holick, MD, PhD. The paper can be found through a link on his site at Be skeptical of older publications as many, including governmental standards, are hopelessly out of date. Please read it. There is extraordinary info in it such as the fact that it is impossible to absorb sufficient vitamin D from one’s diet, or; north of California’s northern border, one cannot absorb uvb rays from November through March, and, when able, only between 10 am and 3 pm. Imagine our situation in Canada! Sun screen greater than SPF 8 effectively prevents the absorption of uvb rays. African- American people or other people with dark skin may need 10 to 20 times the exposure time to absorb the same quantity of vitamin D, that’s why they suffer certain diseases more than whites, such as TB and diabetes. Muslim women are more at risk of vitamin D deficiency as they cover up due to their religious tradition.
    Another of my inestimable discoveries was Functional Medicine which is a revolutionary way of practicing medicine by which disease is seen as a disfunction in one or more of one’s metabolic systems ( glucose, hormonal, adrenal, etc. metabolisms). The first intelligent conversation that I had in five years with a medical practitioner was with a functional medicine practitioner. I thought I was dreaming. They address trends towards pathology before one gets sick. Prevention, pure and simple. If you want more info on Functional Medicine, look up the Institute of Functional Medicine in Washington. One other mechanism I came across when researching migraines was the link between raised intracranial pressure due to the use of antibiotics (Minocycline and Trimethyprim, amongst others) and headache and even aseptic meningitis. Although apparently rare, of course only the most spectacular cases were researched, and, what pharmaceutical-funded research would be done on their own products causing medical conditions such as headache or migraine? The supposition in these studies was that the antibiotics caused salt and fluid retention, and thus, a spike in rachidian pressure and intracranial pressure. Google it – you will find several studies – one on the BMJ, I think, and the others reported on Pubmed. The WHO study was interesting.
    It makes me wonder whether those menstrual migraines have a similar mechanism. Perhaps if women found a way of controlling their water retention around their menses, they would suffer less migraines. There may even be a dietary solution – avoiding sodium, etc. -hmm – who would make money out of that!
    And, by the way, vitamin D is required for the transformation of one of the precursors of serotonin, so if there is a link between SAD and migraines, it may be not direct, but through a common element, a vitamin D deficiency. In any event, one doesn’t necessarily lead to the other – my son had the migraines but no depression. Another consideration – have you noticed how fast doctors jump to the conclusion that depression is a factor in the causation of the migraines? It takes a pretty resilient individual not to become discouraged with the pain, lack of options – medically speaking – and severe restriction of quality of life, but any depression may be situational (due to circumstances). (I wonder whether the depression studies were done before or after the subject lost his job and the wife left him!) If there is a metabolic problem, the Krebs cycle (citric acid cycle) which transforms nutrients into ATP (cellular energy) is certainly affected. My son was hunched over with pain and had no energy due to his metabolic problem – I could understand a doctor thinking that it may be depression. A very recent study suggested that vitamin D, not only the B vitamins, may be a mediator in some steps of the Krebs cycle.
    Chronic migraines are a horrible condition, and doubtless, there are many other causes, even mechanical – see research on head-forward posture and neuro-muscular dentistry. What is unfortunate and stress-inducing, is that, added to the chronic pain and disruption of quality of life, migraine and headache suffers are obliged to endure the lack of respect of their physicians and their inability to aid them due to their extremely limited sphere of knowledge and ignorance of the pertinent research by biochemists in the field.
    I hope that this info may help some of you.

  27. I live in Northern IL and the Migraines are really bad. It doesn’t seem to matter if it is a rain storm or and snow storm both bring them on as does PMS. The meds don’t work not even the preventive ones. I was south of San Antonio and had very few to no Migraines. Currently trying to get my husband to relocate but he hates hot weather.
    I am so hosed!

  28. I have chronic migraine headaches and was surprised at how much better I felt last week while in San Diego, CA. I currently live in Colorado at the base of the Rocky Mountains. Between the altitude, the barometric pressure changes and exacerbated by seasonal allergies – I have no life. I’m curious of what others have found.

  29. I live in Edmonton, AB and these cold minus 20 to minus 40 winters are killing me. I have debilating daily migraines and I can barely function. Med’s do little to help me. I need to move and was thinking about Arizona. I would prefer California but Arizona is more affordable! I heard Hawaii is the the most stable bariometric pressure but again, think it would be more expensive and also hard to find work there.
    Help I don’t think I can take much more of this. These doctors treat you like it’s no big deal…Wow when you feel like you have a sledgehammer in your head how can you even think?!Also, in the States there are many more surgeries for migraineurs-in Canada there is none…

  30. Thanks for your posts. It is reassuring to know that I am not alone (unfortunately). I too suffer greatly at least one a month and they last at least 4 days.
    My doctor’s pulled me off night shift as I was too sick to work and loosing weight (87 lbs at 5ft). I just want to cut my the right side of my head off! None of the pills work. I may have to go on disability next.
    I am trying to find a better location to live. I currently live in Ontario, Canada.
    Don’t plan on moving there for relief!
    I am even thinking of moving to a tropical place or abroad…any ideas?

    1. People who suffer from migraines and many other chronic diseases/pain disorders should consider looking at healing their gut/digestive system. I recommend Dr. Hyman’s books that discuss at great length what a huge role your digestive system plays in feeling very sick or very healthy. My Mother suffers from debilitating migraines every day and gets relief only from Frova, which in turn is probably causing rebound headaches. I feel for all of those who suffer with chronic pain!!

  31. Wow! Its good to know I am not alone. I’ve been wondering for a long time now if my migraines were due to all of the weather changes here in Durango, CO. I’ve been living here for about 5 years I had massive migraine attacks. All of which I just figured were due to living with my in-laws (until we moved out- yay!) and working in a cigarette smoke filled environment.
    Everyday there was almost something I could blame them on. I completely changed my diet and everything else I could think of to prevent them. I am even on a preventative medication now. I’ve always had them since my pre-teens, but they have never been this intense or everyday. I have been looking for a lower elevation that doesn’t have that many weather changes.
    I lived in Pheonix, AZ for two years- it wasn’t bad, I worked the night shift which kept me out of the heat most of the time. And I always stayed hydrated. I did have a few bad episodes, but they ended when I became pregnant.
    Grew up in the Bay Area in CA- a couple of bad migraine episodes, but not this frequent.
    The weather is constantly changing here in Durango and I am so ready to move!!!
    I am really glad I found your site!!! Thanks!!

  32. I live in CT. I and my two sisters and two daughters have all experienced migraine when the rain is coming in. I too experience more migraines in the winter than in the summer. I went to Jamaica for five days last November and was headache free even though I strayed from my gluten free diet and drank liquor. Within two weeks of returning home, I resumed my daily headaches. I get two kinds of migraine and I have MANY triggers. Sometimes I wish they could just remove my trigeminal nerve!

  33. I live in Tucson, AZ. Do not think the desert is your answer. We have what we call “the Monsoons” here in the summer and fall. When the Monsoons start (late June or early July) I can plan on having a daily Migraine until October. We have terrific thunder/lightning storms that start about mid afternoon almost daily during those months and sometimes, but not always, heavy rain. It can last from an hour to several hours. I rarely have migraines here in the winter. (except from margaritas. Ha!)

    I am getting ready to retire and can relocate and was wondering if anyone knows of any studies that show where people have fewer migraines.

  34. The only time I get migraines is right before a rain. At least 80%. Or sometimes it is after a front has just passed.
    But during clear sunny weather I don’t get any.
    I moved to SC from WV. In WV it rained much more than it does here in SC. So I get a lot fewer.
    I guess the desert would be the ideal place.
    If I had the bucks to retire I think I would move to try it out.

  35. In the summer I get LESS not I don’t get any, but I do get less migraines than I do in the winter and in rain.

  36. If weather or the barametric pressure is your trigger. Does anyone know the best place to live to lessen the symptoms?

    Unfortunately, I don’t think anyone has pinpointed a place.


  37. I have migraines when it gets above 100 degrees here in North Texas for any length of time. The heat seems to trigger mine. My sinuses drain constantly. I need to research the weather 3 years ago when I had 5 migtaines in 2 months, to what it’s like now. it might be interesting.

  38. I found this article after researching migraine and weather, because I’ve recently been to Greece and had no migraines (again!!), despite having no sleep one night, wrong food choices and being late for meals (all big triggers for me). It’s not the holiday and lack of stress, as all my friends seem to think, because if I holiday in this country (the UK), I still get migraines. It’s unusual for me to go more than a few days without migraine.

    Interestingly, even though all doctors seem to cite weather change as a trigger, the dramatic change from the UK to Greece wasn’t a trigger. I suspect humidity may be a trigger for me.
    Interesting article, I’m off to research the rest of the blog – thanks!!

  39. I’ve definitely found that a drop in barometric pressure is a trigger for me. I know of a weather page that lists the barometric pressure for every hour, so when I feel a migraine starting, I check it. Almost invariably, it is going down and has been for several hours. I live in a sunny desert, but even the slight barometric pressure changes that happen every day still affect me. I also get migraines when heading to a much higher elevation. Sometime I would like to try a vacation in an area known for the fewest fluctuations in barometric pressure!

  40. I have definitely noticed weather changes being a trigger. I enjoyed this post – at least someone understands. The Weather Channel has an “aches and pains” index on their website. It rates each day on a scale from 1-10 how likely it is that one will experience weather-related pain symptoms including headaches and arthritis. I have found it to be relatively accurate – not completely. In fact, my worst day was on a day that was rated a 4. Just thought you might find it interesting.

  41. Cool post! I’ve totally noticed a correlation between weather and my migraines. In the spring and summer, storm fronts seem to bring on migraines.

    However, in recent years, I’ve actually also started getting migraines due to allergies. God, can I just add ONE more trigger to my list? So anyway, I now have BETTER days when it rains – not before it rains but during – because it seems to damp down the pollen and make the air better for me.

    I had a neurologist once who firmly believed in the relationship of storm fronts/barometric pressure changes and headaches. However, haven’t met a western doctor who agreed with him yet. I’ve also found that at certain elevations I’m happier. For instance, felt FANTASTIC in Florida during a time in my cycle when I typically feel crap. Still don’t know why. And then I also felt great in the Canadian Rockies, while before and after that trip at home I was miserable! Don’t think it’s the vacation making me feel great – I’ve ruined more vacations for my husband than I care to count.

    Truly fascinating topic. But I’m with you — predicting my migraines isn’t a happy thing. I just get tense, which brings out the chronic headaches more. 🙂 I think the only thing at this point that would truly make me happy is an utter cessation of headaches altogether. Who’s ready for the chain saw? Raise your hand if you want to chop off your head!

    “Can I just add ONE more trigger” — I totally identify with that!

    Interesting about the change in triggers. Can we ever win?


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