Do you get headaches before, during or even after it rains? If so, you are not alone. Weather causes variations in atmospheric pressure which in turn may result in headaches. Symptoms vary from person to person and include clogged ears, light pressure to a severe migraine.

Barometric pressure, the amount of force being applied to your body from the air, appears to trigger headaches in some people. In a 1 year study, 64% of patients reported weather-related migraine headaches. A Japanese study examined headache sufferers during a typhoon, finding that 75% of people with migraines had attacks associated with the drop in barometric pressure.

Some researchers have estimated that fluctuations may increase the likelihood of headaches and migraines an average of 6% with every 5 millimeter drop in barometric pressure that occurs. A 2017 study found a direct correlation between change in pressure and intensity of migraine pain a person experiences.

Rain is not the only weather-related cause of headaches and migraines. According to a recent survey by the National Headache Foundation, triggers may include:

  • Temperature changes
  • High humidity
  • Bright sunlight
  • High winds
  • Stormy weather
  • Extremely dry conditions
  • Barometric pressure changes

Researchers suspect that changes in weather may cause an imbalance in brain chemicals, including serotonin, which can trigger a migraine headache.

Steps to take to lessen weather-related headaches

You may not be able to control the weather but you can take steps to lessen its effects. Experts suggest:

  • Keeping a headache dairy – Get to know your specific triggers and duration of suffering. This will better inform you as to the appropriate actions to take.
  • Monitoring the weather – Pay attention to changes likely to trigger a headache in order to better prepare, such as having the right pain medication on hand or simply staying indoors on windy days.
  • Taking medication – If you feel a migraine coming on, consider taking medicine right away.
  • Making healthy lifestyle choices — Doctors recommend a healthy diet, drinking plenty of water, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and keeping your stress under control to reduce the number and severity of your migraines.

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