Barometric pressure changes are bad for my migraines. Not only does a storm system moving in or out make me sick, but getting on an airplane or driving up a mountain does, too. It’s hard to tell exactly what’s going on though – I’m not sure how much pressure change is too much, the time scale it matters over, or even if it’s any change or just drops. Some studies show migraines are associated with pressure change, but other studies don’t. Different studies also disagree about whether any change, positive changes, or negative changes are the problem. But pressure changes aren’t the only aspect of weather that hurt my poor head – high temperatures also seem to knock me off my feet. I’m not the only one whose migraines get worse with heat. While there’s some disagreement about this in the literature, higher temperatures seem to be a clearer case of migraine trigger.
Migraine patients can change a lot of things about their lives, but weather seems a bit out of the average person’s control.
You can’t control the weather where you are, but you can possibly control where you are in the first place. I’ve moved three times because of migraine. Kerrie Smyres at the Daily Headache has also moved because of migraine. If pressure changes affects your migraines you might be interested in this list (or this more detailed list) compiled by another migraineur who moved to try to find relief.
I found that list of cities with low pressure variability because I was trying to figure out somewhere I could go that might help my migraines. I wasn’t encouraged. Almost all of the “good” places on it are very warm to hot as hell. That is, if I escape one trigger, I’m exacerbating another.
There’s also the thing where moving seems to be a temporary fix. Each time I’ve moved, I’ve had a year or two of good to moderately good health, and then been totally debilitated by migraine again. It sounds like Kerrie’s moves have also not been as helpful as she might have hoped.
In an ideal world, I might move to a new place once every couple years, but there’s no guarantee it’ll work, it’s financially and logistically difficult, it’s emotionally horrible as I can’t develop and maintain relationships, and it limits my access to good healthcare.
I don’t think I’ll be moving to try to fix my migraines any time soon after all.