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Weather Not a Factor in Migraine, Recent Study Finds

People with migraine frequently report that weather changes trigger their headaches, and some studies have supported this claim. A new study reported in the journal Cephalalgia, however, suggests otherwise and adds to the conflicting information on this subject.

Researchers at the Medical University of Vienna enlisted 238 adult migraineurs to keep a three-month diary that included information on whether or not they had a headache and details of their symptoms. The participants also included information on a range of factors related to migraine, including several aspects of the weather.

Researchers then compared the headache information to weather statistics from a Vienna meteorological center. Initial findings showed some correlation between weather changes and migraine, including that the risk of headache rose with high pressure ridges and that migraine occurrence increased with low daily wind speed and a change in the duration of daily sunshine. Further study of the data, however, found that none of the findings was statistically significant. The conclusion of the study was that the influence of weather factors on migraine and headache is small and questionable.

As in the preceding news briefs, Arthur Elkind, MD, stressed that while the results are interesting, further study is necessary before patients can feel confident about the veracity of weather-migraine findings.

In a Reuters news story, Christian Wober, MD, one of the researchers from the University of Vienna and an author of the study, noted that no one can control the weather. With that in mind, migraineurs would be best served by identifying the triggers they can control, maintaining their lifestyle accordingly—eating, sleeping and exercising regularly—and understanding migraines can arise with seemingly no trigger at all.

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