The low-pressure storm system sweeping the state this week could mean more headaches.
Chronic migraine sufferers might be more prone to headaches with changes in the barometric pressure, local doctors say.
There’s no “robust” scientific study linking headaches and air pressure changes, said Dr. Sanjay Singh, director of the CHI Health neurological institute. But doctors have come to acknowledge pressure changes as a trigger of migraines, he said.
We know barometric pressure changes can have an impact on the body. That’s especially clear when pilots or astronauts venture into the atmosphere, Singh said. It won’t be as drastic for folks on the ground, he added.
Air pressure changes don’t just affect migraine sufferers. The changes can cause other problems, like sinus headaches and other types. It’s all dependent on how much change there is, Singh said.
Doctors typically tell patients to keep a headache diary to document what time the headaches strike as well as what they’ve eaten that day. It helps to identify triggers.
“A lot of other things can be managed, like eating chocolate or cheese, drinking coffee and lack of sleep,” Singh said. “Barometric pressure is more difficult to control.”
Sometimes migraine sufferers can sense a headache coming on, said Dr. Christie Barnes, a sinus specialist at the Nebraska Medical Center.
By realizing triggers, like barometric pressure changes, patients can take appropriate medications to prepare and avoid other potential triggers, both doctors said.
“It’s an interesting phenomenon,” Barnes said. “I don’t think we fully understand what the underlying cause is.”