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Barometric Pressure Headaches: What You Should Know?

Updated on Jul 12, 2021 by Dr. Amr Hosny (Headache Specialist) of Advanced Headache Center

If you experience a headache or migraine episode during certain weather conditions or changes in altitude, consult a headache specialist. Experienced and qualified physicians offer positive solutions to alleviate pain and provide lasting relief from humidity headaches that result from barometric pressure changes. The headache expert doctors at Advanced Headache Center will accurately diagnose the causes of these headaches and recommend the most effective treatments to relieve your suffering.

Humidity and Headaches – How Are They Related

Humidity is one of the biggest headache factors. It might be difficult to understand how weather can cause or trigger headaches. Still, research shows that people living in humid areas experience headaches more often than people living in dry places.

The secret of humidity is barometric pressure, a measurement of the air and water pressure in the atmosphere at any given time. Air pressure is the force exerted by the weight of air over your head, while water pressure refers to the weight of water. Sudden changes in humidity and temperature, both high and low, can lead to headaches. The link between humidity, temperature, and migraine might not be a very consistent one, but weather changes can set off migraine attacks or headaches.

Everyone has unique triggers for headaches and migraines, but certain factors are more prevalent and contribute to frequent occurrences of these conditions. Migraines sufferers do not have any problem operating at consistent highly or low pressures. It is the sudden change in the pressure levels that triggers an attack.

Headache Sufferers Must Lookout for Two Weather Conditions:

  • Falling or low barometric pressure indicates storms – the more serious the storm, the more significant and rapid the change, and this dull and dreary weather causes headache.
  • Rising barometric pressure indicates good weather – as the pressure rises, it signals an increase in the humidity levels, and the stifling feeling can lead to headaches or migraines.

Keep an eye on what weather conditions trigger your humidity headaches or what worsens them. You can try staying indoors as much as possible or take preventative medication as soon as you notice pressure-related conditions. Discuss your symptoms with an expert headache doctor to know more about this phenomenon and how you can avoid the pain.

Humidity Headache Symptoms

Some people begin to develop barometric pressure headaches or migraines as soon as the weather changes. For some people, it takes time, but the symptoms develop even before the weather changes become noticeable.

People facing humidity headaches due to barometric pressure experience symptoms including:

  • Headaches that can last between 4 hours and 3 days
  • Sensitivity to light, sounds, and smells
  • Nausea, abdominal pain, and vomiting
  • Distorted vision
  • Mood or emotional changes, which often involve depression or anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • More frequent yawning
  • Speech changes
  • Memory difficulties
  • Difficulty concentrating and sleeping

If your pain continues to increase with every headache or experience this headache for the first time, consult an experienced pain management doctor. He will discover the root cause of your headaches and develop the most comprehensive treatment plan to offer long-term relief.

How Humidity Causes Pressure Headaches?

Headaches occur when pressure changes affect the small, confined, air-filled systems in the ears or the sinuses. Changes in the atmospheric pressure lead to an imbalance in the pressure within the sinus cavities and the inner ear’s structure and chambers that result in pain.

The effects on the body mainly depend on how quickly these changes occur and how impactful they are. Constriction of blood vessels, insufficient oxygen, or the overexcitement of certain areas of the brain also causes significant changes in the barometric pressure that produce pain and headache.

Some common causes of humidity pressure headaches include:

  • Sudden changes in temperature
  • High levels of humidity
  • Bright lights and glaring sun
  • Arid weather
  • High or low levels of temperature or humidity
  • Storms that change the barometric pressure
  • Changes in altitude or barometric pressure change, such as during plane travel

In severe cases, the doctor may suggest imaging tests and blood work to rule out the possibility of other underlying conditions after collecting your medical history and assessing your physical health.

How to Treat Humidity Headaches?

The experienced physician will help you understand the connection between humidity and headaches. You can learn to avoid the triggers and manage symptoms. If the headaches result from barometric pressure, the doctor will recommend treatment depending on the type and causes of the pain you are suffering from.

The pain specialist will ask questions about the severity of headaches, how long the pain lasts and what sets them off to understand your condition, make out the patterns and provide effective relief options.

The doctor may recommend a combination of medications for humidity headache relief. They include:

  • Over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen or aspirin
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • Anti-nausea medications
  • Analgesics
  • Medications called Triptans, which treat migraine and cluster headaches

It is necessary to use these medications according to the doctor’s instructions to avoid overdosage or tolerance.

Humidity Headache Relief With Home Remedies

The doctor may prescribe some home remedies to relieve your headache at home, depending on your specific symptoms and triggers. They include:

  • Applying an ice pack or pad to the painful areas of the head
  • Avoiding caffeine, alcohol, sugar, and trans fats
  • Reducing excessive physical activity or exertion
  • Avoiding noisy or brightly lit environments
  • Using steamers to relax muscles and clear sinuses
  • Acupressure therapy
  • Staying hydrated
  • Avoiding stress
  • Getting a good night’s sleep
  • Eating a balanced diet

Work with your doctor to know more about how these alternative therapies can help manage humidity attacks and avoid headaches.

Keep a diary of what you are doing when the headaches start, and you will be able to notice how humidity and changes in weather and altitude cause headaches. Discuss your condition with a trained physician who understands what you are going through and develops treatments that address your specific symptoms.

You cannot control the weather, but you can gain more control over your headache when the temperature or humidity levels change. Seek help from an experienced pain management doctor at Advanced Headache Center to figure out your triggers and what conditions set off the barometric pressure headaches. The doctor will work out weather patterns that affect you and develop the most targeted treatment options to prevent headaches, relieve pain and improve your quality of life.

Dr. Amr Hosny has either authored or reviewed and approved this content. Advanced Headache Center 41 5th Avenue,
New York, NY 10003
(646) 419-3105