Is Bad Weather Responsible for Headaches?

As soon as you learn about the forthcoming thunderstorms, you cancel all plans and stay home. However, the main reason is not your fear of dripping wet. The problem is that you have horrible headaches every time it rains heavily. Is bad weather really at fault?

Many people all over the world are sure that weather-related changes can influence our health causing feeling seek. Science has a few explanations of this occurrence.

Bad Weather and Headaches

Millions of people suffering from chronic migraines and headaches report weather as a main trigger for their ill-being. However, it is quite subjective.

Some patients cite any change in weather as the trigger. The others can name a specific case like too low or too high temperature, changes in humidity or wind speed, etc.

According to the report published in Cephalalgia, the study with 1200 patients suffering from migraines showed that approximately 50% of them identified weather as one of the main triggers of their attacks. The fourth place of the whole rating is high.

The second study published in The Journal of headache and Pain specified weather as the most common trigger among 120 participants with either tension-type headaches or migraines.

Despite the impressive statistics, there is almost no scientific support of the effect caused by weather on occurrence of migraines and headaches. Some researchers showed a correlation between weather changes and headaches, and the others could not find any link between them.


In fact, many people without chronic diseases can get a nagging headache on damp, gloomy days before or after thunderstorms. What is the reason?

When storm begins, warm and cold airflows collide and create a huge misbalance in air pressure. It causes a thunderstorm with rain and wind. The change in air pressure may trigger headaches in sensitive people.

Electromagnetic impulses produced by lightning that often accompanies thunderstorms may also cause pain.
However, it is a questionable phenomenon, as only a few percent of people suffer from sinus or tension-type headaches during thunderstorms.

Changes in Barometric Pressure

Internal Medicine published a report on a study that was held among Japan citizens suffering from migraines. All participants had to keep a special headache diary for a year. Half of them were sure that low barometric pressure was at fault of their migraine attacks. The results of the study showed that about a half of all participants had headaches after a drop in air pressure.

Nevertheless, another research in Headache could not find any link between migraine attacks and barometric pressure falls, although more than 900 people were tested.

What is the Solution?

Consequently, there is almost no evidence or scientific support of a link between weather changes and headaches. Thunderstorms and drops of barometric pressure may trigger migraine attacks, but it can be also a self-suggestion.

However that may be, you should listen to your gut. If certain changes in weather consistently make you feel awful and trigger your headaches, get prepared for managing your condition with proper medications when heavy rain clouds appear in the sky. If you have all the necessary drugs and equipment, you will be ready to fight symptoms of migraine.

If you are subject to weather-triggered headaches, you are not able to change this situation and escape the phenomenon. The best solution here is to try to cope with the trigger. Keep a headache diary for a few months and review it with your physician. He will analyze it and help you make a plan that will lessen or prevent bad symptoms of the attack the next time your weather trigger occurs.

It would be a good idea to consider over-the-counter medicines or any prescription drugs with your health care provider in order to manage your headache.