Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Day 365 - The Weather

“The weather has long been suspected of affecting people's health. Cold damp days can mean aching bones and joints for arthritis sufferers and a long hot spell can result in lost workdays for migraine sufferers. There is mounting evidence that certain health problems are aggravated or even brought on by the weather.

Some studies have suggested that migraine sufferers seem to be more susceptible to changes in the weather. Anything from temperature to humidity to barometric pressure can impact migraines. One of the theories suggested as to why weather impacts migraines is related to oxygen levels. Any changes in pressure affect oxygen levels and it is thought that this may be the mechanism by which headaches occur following certain weather patterns. Blood vessels in the head constrict and expand, leading to the throbbing head pain that is characteristic of a migraine.

The specific weather patterns that trigger migraines seem to yield mixed results. Some migraine sufferers find they react to changes in temperature while others find air pressure to strongly impact migraine frequency and severity. Many migraine sufferers also find humidity to be the deciding factor and still others experience headaches prompted by a combination of weather factors.

One study found that high heat and humidity combined with low pressure led to headaches. Intense cold is also a trigger for some migraine sufferers. There is also the suggestion that it is not so much the weather type itself but the change that accounts for headaches. This means that an abrupt change will trigger a migraine rather than a gradual seasonal change. A bright sunny day followed by a cold rainy one could thus prompt a migraine for some people. This is possibly due to an increased sensitivity in the brains of those who suffer from migraines.

The studies show that migraines are more prevalent in locations where warmer air is moving in. Chronic pain sufferers are most affected by changes in temperature, humidity, precipitation and sudden changes in the weather.”

Fast Facts

- Migraines tend to be more prevalent under two types of weather conditions: when the weather becomes more humid and cooler; and during long hot spells.

- Chronic pain sufferers are most affected by changes in temperature, humidity, precipitation and sudden changes in the weather.

- Arthritis acts up with strong atmospheric cooling and is influenced by dampness.
Depression is more prevalent in the warm sector of a weather system.


It is the headache’s first year anniversary today. What can I say? Who would have thought I would still have a headache a year later? Who would even think it possible? I dread to think how long it will go on for. Maybe it will never leave me. I guess the positive thing (if we can call it positive) is that I have learned to live with it - I am really trying not to make it affect my every day life, whether this be in terms of where I work or how long I go out for in the evenings with my friends. After all I am still very young and have a life to live.

I have been based in Russia for work for the past few weeks and the headache has certainly improved. The cold dry climate has helped - I haven’t had any severe attacks, and the headache has been stable at about 2/10 to 3/10 which is perfectly bearable. Obviously not normal but I can put up with it.

When walking around in extreme temperatures (-25C), the cold appears to block the headache, nearly freeze it, shall we say, rendering it numb. The cold air gives the impression it’s cleansing your lungs and even helping the blood circulate in your head. It’s so cold that you can’t feel the pain, until you walk into a building again and you realize the headache never really left you. The possibility of being able to temporarily numb the pain - albeit in extreme temperatures - has made me start to love the cold.

I certainly think the weather has played a part in my well being, although I also believe it’s thanks to the supplements the kinesiologist gave me and that I have now been taking for the past few months.

I returned to London a few days ago and the headache seems to have dropped down to a 4/10-5/10 which leads me to think that the weather has influenced the severity of my headache. Whether this is due to the difference in temperature itself or simply because of the dry air - or a combination of both -, I do not know. On the other hand, it may just be a pure coincidence as the headache has been at its best for the past couple of months, and I may just be having a little bit of a relapse...