How Weather Changes Affect Headaches

By Annette GallagherMarch 11, 2016No Comments

Studies show that up to 25% of the population suffers from regular migraines or chronic headaches, with women being especially susceptible to them. Recent research has suggested that changes in weather conditions can be a major trigger for people who are already at risk of having headaches on a regular basis, and that the severity of the headache can intensify as the weather changes.


Barometric pressure refers to the pressure that the air exerts on the Earth at any given time. It is influenced by factors such as temperature, humidity and altitude as all of these qualities change the density of the air.

Studies dating back to the 1980s suggest that sudden changes in barometric pressure can result in both physical and chemical changes in the body that result in a headache or migraine. The barometric pressure shift immediately preceding a large thunderstorm or other weather event is often readily noticed by headache sufferers.


Temperature is another major weather factor that neurologists and headache specialists recognize as a potential trigger for headaches. The most recent studies show that for every five degree change in temperature over a short period of time, the instance of headaches reported increases by as much as 7%.

There are a number of biological processes and characteristics that are directly influenced by changes in temperature. Most common are dehydration and heat stroke as a result of extremely high temperatures in the summer.


Patients who find themselves particularly sensitive to changes in weather need to be cognizant of the climate in which they are living. Typically, very humid climates are more prone to large-scale weather shifts than dryer climates. The reality is that no one can control the weather, so it is a good idea to monitor the forecast closely and avoid going out in conditions that are known to trigger headache symptoms.

In extreme cases, moving to a different climate may solve the problem, but this is not necessarily a practical option.


If you believe you are suffering from weather-related headaches, write down the days and times that you are experiencing these symptoms and what the weather is like at those times. Paying close attention to the types of weather that set off painful migraines will help neurologists and headache specialists come up with a treatment plan that will allow you to overcome pain from unpredictable weather conditions.

At the National Headache Institute, we provide diagnostic and treatment services to people who suffer from a wide range of headaches and migraines. Whether your headaches are caused by changing weather conditions or day-to-day stress, our team of experts is here to help improve your quality of life by reducing pain and frequency of headaches. For more information about treatment options available to you, give us a call today to schedule a consultation.