Weather Linked to Migraines

Migraines could be triggered by temperature changes

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) It may be time to add another item to the list of potential migraine triggers. A new study suggests that some migraine sufferers may be sensitive to weather changes.

Cold weather was found to trigger migraines even though headaches were also reported during hot summer months.

"Discuss prevention strategies to reduce migraines with your physician."

Shuu-Jiun Wang, MD, a lead author of the study from Taipei Veterans Hospital in Taiwan, said that a regression analysis revealed that variance in headache incidence can be explained by temperature changes in different seasons.

Over half of the migraine patients participating in the study reported sensitivity to changes in the weather.

During the study, researchers followed 66 Taiwanese migraine patients who submitted a year-long headache diary. Most of the participants were women with an average age of 43.

Investigators identified weather patterns and their correlation to the incidence of headaches. Of the 66 participants, 34 reported sensitivity to temperature changes.

Researchers determined that changes in weather were associated with 21 percent of mild headaches, but only 5 percent of moderate to severe headaches.

The association also was stronger on cold days. Cold weather was linked to a 17 percent increase in migraines, compared to a 10 percent increase on hot days. Patients who reported sensitivity to cold were 29 percent more likely to experience a headache during the winter.

Researchers determined that weather-sensitive migraine sufferers may be affected by a different incidence of headache intensity and the degree of temperature variations between seasons.

The study was recently presented at the 54th Annual Scientific Sessions of the American Headache Society in Los Angeles, Calif.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
June 25, 2012
Last Updated:
June 26, 2012