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Fall Migraines: are you at risk?

Fall Migraines

Are you at risk for suffering fall-weather induced migraines?

Autumn, the best time of the year. Summer’s heat is finally cooling down, the trees are changing colors, kids are back in school, and migraines.

Multiple studies have now shown that weather is a migraine trigger. With fall bringing such dramatic seasonal changes, it is difficult to single out a single variable to blame. Temperature, pressure, humidity, winds, clouds, and precipitation are constantly fluctuating this time of the year. It is also important to consider the “neurological effect” caused by the shorter days (Dr. Martin) and the fall allergens in the air. “Weather is a trigger capable of activating pain, [but] the mechanisms for this are not yet fully known” according to Dr. Peterlin. One study showed that patients reported weather at a trigger frequency of 53%.

There is definite progress in this field of study, not long ago there was no definite proof of this link between weather and migraines - but more research is still needed.

So what can you do?

Dr. Kaniecki recommends “think[ing] of your triggers as individual risk factors for bringing on a migraine...then figure out...what combination of those aggravating circumstances it takes to produce a migraine attack for you.”

Every person has certain triggers that affect them, just as everyone has a different threshold before a migraine sets in. There are many triggers (and you can find more online) but some of the most common include: sleep (too little/too much), food (overeating/undereating), stress, excess caffeine, dehydration, and certain foods and odors.

With those common triggers in mind, someone already experiencing normal triggers might reach that migraine threshold with the changing temperatures and barometric pressure, causing more frequent headaches and migraines. It’s quite easy to see why autumn is actually the most common time to have a migraine.

If you believe you might be suffering from migraines, try keeping a “migraine diary” and recording the weather and those other influences listed above to share with your doctor. You may find that there is a pattern and hopefully you can work with your doctor to keep your triggers to a minimum.

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