Flu season is approaching and the temperature is dropping every day. Everyone is catching colds and layering up their clothing to brave the cold outside. Some of us are experiencing migraines due to this change in the weather. Express.co.uk explains how to prevent cold weather migraines.
If you’re experiencing more headaches lately, it might be down to the cold weather rather than a virus.
The weather seemed to change overnight last week, and that’s a migraine trigger.
Pressure changes that cause weather changes are thought to trigger chemical and electrical changes in the brain, the NHS website states.
This irritates nerves and causes a headache.
Sudden changes in the weather or extreme weather such as storms and lightning might cause a headache in this way.
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It’s not just changes in the weather that cause migraines, but extreme cold too.
People who suffer from migraines are more sensitive to cold, according to a study published in the International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health.
This is probably related to their autonomic nervous system and its impact on the blood vessels in the brain.
Other studies have found that people are more likely to experience migraines during the winter.
The cold, dry air can cause dehydration and lead to migraines in this way too.
This is mainly in relation to tension-type headaches which cause muscle tightness in the neck, scalp and face.
The cold weather and pressure changes can contribute to the stiffness and pain.
Other triggers are poor posture, anger, and relaxing after stress.
Your headache could also be a symptom of the common cold, flu, or even coronavirus, so assess your other symptoms before jumping to conclusions!
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How to prevent cold weather migraines
It’s tricky to prevent a migraine, but your best bet is controlling your triggers.
If you think the cold weather is triggering migraines, the only thing you can do is to try and minimise your exposure.
You don’t have to avoid going outside but you should wrap up warm before you think about stepping out of your front door.
Make sure you keep your neck and scalp warm with a scarf and hat.
Tension in the shoulders in cold weather can also make your headache worse, so keep the muscles loose by stretching and moving them in circles when you are out and about.
When you get home after being out in the cold, use a hot water bottle or heat pack on your neck and shoulder area to warm yourself up.
You can also check the weather forecast a day or two in advance and take a preventative painkiller to dull the pain.
See the Met Office’s forecasts here.
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