It’s not just their imagination… migraine sufferers feel a storm coming.
Tropical storms and hurricanes cause a drop in barometric pressure and that is part of the puzzle.
Barometric pressure changes are typically not experienced on a conscious level, but we have all experienced changes in pressure in our ears and sinuses as the weather changes. Just as light, sounds or smells can trigger migraine, the pressure change associated with storms and weather changes likely influences and excites the pain centers in susceptible patients.
According to Dr. William Evans, a neurologist with Singing River Health System in Mississippi, this is one theory and there may be additional contributing factors including changes in brain neurotransmitters such as serotonin.
He sees many patients that experience migraine pain associated with weather changes. Migraine is a complex disorder that involves a genetic predisposition. Most people have multiple triggers that may include stress, lack of sleep, dietary triggers, along with other environmental triggers. Some people are sensitive to smells such as perfume that may trigger a migraine. Others are light or sound sensitive.
While this is not well understood, it likely has to do with input into our sensory system. There is likely some degree of ‘cross talk’ between different sensory symptoms and input into the brain’s pain centers. For patients with pain conditions, including migraine, this system is more sensitive.