A stark change in weather isn't enjoyable for a number of reasons. One being that it usually means a complete wardrobe shift (like last week, when it switched from heatwave to thunderstorms in the blink of an eye and we all had to ditch our sandals immediately 🙄), but it can also have repercussions for your health.
If you've ever noticed the onset of a headache following a weather change, it's not just a coincidence. Because weather change headaches - or barometric pressure headache, as they're known in the medical world - are a completely real thing, and a pain for anyone who experiences them.
You're more susceptible to a weather change headache if you suffer with headaches regularly, advises Parvinder Sagoo, lead medical advisor and Clinician at Simply Meds. "You may find that when the weather changes these headaches increase or become more severe," he notes.
Gloomy, grey skies, high humidity, quickly rising temperatures and storms are all climate conditions that are known to bring on headaches. "This is because the pressure changes in the atmosphere can trigger both chemical and electrical changes in the brain, which then aggravates the nerves and leads to headaches," the pharmacist tells Cosmopolitan UK.
"These types of headache are known as a barometric pressure headache and occur after there is a drop in barometric pressure," Parvinder explains. Barometric pressure headaches are similar to a normal headache or migraine, but are also known to cause other symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, increased sensitivity to light. "You may also feel generally lethargic, tired and unmotivated, which is likely to further promote headaches, a foggy mind and dull head and ear pain," says the medical expert.
Frustratingly, seeing as Mother Nature is in charge of the weather and not little old you, there's not a lot you can do about the cause. But there are ways you can help ease your symptoms.
Pharmacist Parvinder recommends drinking plenty of water when the weather starts to change, to keep hydration levels up. He also suggests taking frequent breaks from your phone or computer screen to prevent eye strain, and taking a hot bath or shower to try and relax tense muscles.
"Apply a heating pad or ice pack to your head for five minutes several times a day," the expert suggests, adding: "You can also massage your head which may be able to relieve any pressure and tensions, concentrating on the temples."
Fresh air is also key, so getting outside is advisable if you've got a weather change headache (although this is easier said than done if it's a heavy storm that's caused your sore head in the first place.)
"General exercise should help to subside any pain and pressure, and migraine medication is also an option if you find yourself experiencing these headaches more frequently," says Parvinder, who also advises visiting your GP if you're experiencing constant and severe headaches that are interfering with your daily life.
Well, at least there's an explanation for your mysterious headaches now!
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