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Weather can trigger migraine headaches

Migraine sufferers have noticed a correlation between weather changes and migraine pain.

INDIANAPOLIS — If you are a migraine sufferer, you may have noticed that the pain correlates with the change of the weather.  

You are not alone. 

Dawn Calvert suffers from migraines and knows that changes in the weather will bring on a migraine. 

"The main weather-related triggers are rainy weather, but especially stormy, like thunderstorms, for sure, are ones... anytime I look into the sky, and I see those big, dark gray-bluish clouds, I'm like, 'Oh, here we go.'" 

Credit: WTHR

"Some migraine sufferers are so sensitive that they even know when the weather is going to change a day or so before it does," said Dr. Karen Vogel, a neurologist.

Vogel said weather is one of the largest causes of migraines. 

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"Probably more than two-thirds of patients with migraines will note that a weather change, particularly a drop in the barometric pressure, but also extreme heat or extreme cold, will trigger a migraine," she said. "So what happens typically is, when the barometric pressure changes, pressure in our head and neck changes. It has to equilibrate with what's happening in the atmosphere." 

Credit: WTHR

"I just noticed even as I see the clouds rolling in, almost as soon as the rain starts, that's when my head starts to get grouchy," Calvert said.

Vogel suggests keeping a diary. 

"Please keep a diary and write down what has happened to you around the time of your headache occurring, and people will then start to see a pattern," she said. 

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If you suffer from migraines and you know it's brought on by the weather, there are ways to prevent the migraine - or at least to minimize it.

"For many people, an over-counter medication is just fine," said Vogel. "Where that becomes a problem is if you're taking handfuls of it every day, because that can also cause medical side effects. "There's been a lot of changes in the last few years, a new class of medications have been released onto the market. The calcitonin gene-related peptide antibodies, they are very, very effective for migraines."

Credit: WTHR

"When I see the clouds moving in, I'll go ahead and take my medicine, because it's coming. I know it's coming" says Calvert.

You can reach out to Dr. Vogel here.

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