Living with M.S.

"Living with M.S. is sort of like training for a long race. The harder you try, and the longer you keep at it, the stronger you become.
Eventually, looking back, you may be amazed at the power you possessed, even when you had no idea it was within your reach." (Linda Ann Nickerson)


What's a weather-related migraine?

Migraines can rain on any headache sufferer’s day, no matter what the weather outdoors may be doing. At the same time, plenty of people with migraines claim certain weather patterns make their crippling headaches considerably more likely than others.

Those with multiple sclerosis seem to be particularly prone to migraines, although no one seems to know why. (Personally, I can attest to this!)

What’s the story on weather-related migraines?

Maybe it’s meteorological. Certain weather conditions are generally seen as potential triggers for migraines. Here are some such phenomena frequently regarded as strong setups for these truly terrible headaches:

  • bright sunlight (especially glare)
  • deep-freeze cold
  • dust storms
  • extra-dry air
  • extreme heat
  • high humidity
  • lightning
  • low cloud ceiling
  • strong winds
  • sudden barometric pressure shifts
  • and a coming storm.

Essentially, nearly any sudden, extreme sort of weather may produce the perfect storm for triggering a migraine. One prevailing theory suggests weather changes may alter brain chemicals (such as serotonin), which could open the door to a whopper headache. Barometric pressure changes may also affect blood vessels in the head, much like what can occur in a pressurized airplane cabin or a submarine (or at extra-high or extra-low altitudes).

In fact, some meteorological experts (like Accuweather) actually track and predict migraine-risk weather patterns. As a migraine-prone MSer, I periodically look at such forecasts. I may even adjust my schedule to avoid overloading myself on days marked for high probability of migraines.

Today, for example, has been called a high-risk day for migraines. But I pretty much knew that, even before I looked at Accuweather’s forecast. There’s also a wind-chill advisory, a fresh-overnight six-inch snow cover, and a low cloud ceiling.

Please pass the headache tablets, would you?

Adapted from public domain artwork.

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