Warm Weather's a Pain... in the Head

Temperature changes can trigger migraines

Most people welcome the warmer weather of spring, but headache sufferers sometimes find that rising temperatures can trigger headaches or debilitating migraines. The Robbins Headache Clinic in Northbrook, Ill., ranked weather changes as the second most-common trigger for migraine (after stress) in a study of 494 patients.

The reason is still a mystery, although researchers in Canada documented the phenomenon last year. The science journal Nature reports that the warm "Chinook" spring winds in Alberta increased the number of headaches in almost half the 75 migraine sufferers who were studied. The elderly were particularly affected.

Because the Chinook winds start and stop at definable times, migraine patients "might benefit from short-term prophylactic treatment at appropriate times," says researcher W.J. Becker of the Foothills Medical Center in Calgary. But that may not be an option for people who live in areas where spring temperatures fluctuate unpredictably.

The Journal of the American Medical Association offers in-depth information on migraine triggers and treatments. The Deseret News also has advice for exercising in warm weather, which can exacerbate migraines.

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