Q. I have been following the Headache Predictor on AccuWeather and find that many times it is consistent with my migraine attacks.  I manage a detailed diary of potential triggers, including barometric pressure, but I am unable to identify weather-related triggers.

Can you inform me as to the critical weather-related triggers and the algorithm used to predict migraines?

A. Weather is an important trigger for headache attacks in up to 50-60% of persons with migraine disease.  Some may respond to changes in barometric pressure while others may worsen with precipitation and wind speed.   Even the presence of lightning might trigger migraine in some persons.  It may not always be just one weather variable but a combination of variables that trigger headaches the most.  The best way to identify the triggers is to keep a headache diary and try to identify specific patterns of weather that may trigger headaches.  In the future apps will likely be developed to identify the unique combinations of weather variables that trigger headache in a given patient. For more information, watch the Heads Up episode about Spring Time Headache.

Vincent Martin, MD

President National Headache Foundation
Headache and Facial Pain Program
University of Cincinnati Neuroscience Institute
Cincinnati, OH