As many as one in four U.S. households has someone who suffers from migraines. If you are one of the estimated 38 million Americans who get migraines and think they really are worse this time of year, you’re not imagining it.
It’s the time of year where people think of pumpkins, changing leaves, and crisp air. But the fall means misery for many. Dr. Vincent Martin is the director of the Headache and Facial Pain Center at the University of Cincinnati and president of the National Headache Foundation. He said research indicates weather changes are a primary cause of migraines.
“So, we see a lot of low-pressure systems in the fall as we transition into winter. And it’s thought that those low-pressure systems where you get both falls in barometric pressure and low barometric pressures can actually trigger headaches in people who are susceptible to them,” Martin said.
Fall weather patterns that lead to heavy rain and lightning can also contribute.
“We actually did a study ourselves where we found that if there was a lightning strike within 25 miles of a person’s home residence, that there was about a 26 percent excess risk of migraine attacks on those days,” Martin said.
Fall is also full of ragweed and mold, allergies can inflame sinuses, and trigger migraines. Doctors say you can lessen the impact of allergens by using an air filter, and allergy medicine. For those affected by the changing weather, new prescription migraine treatments may keep migraineurs from missing any fall fun.
Martin also said the shorter days may signal a change in a person’s sleep cycle and lack of sleep may also trigger migraines. So, make sure to stay with your regular sleep routine.