The valley saw it’s first big dust storm of monsoon season, and with it has come a flush of calls regarding headaches and migraines. Unfortunately, this is to be expected during the Arizona monsoon season. As barometric pressure rises, migraine sufferers tend to feel the brunt of it. But, of course, as experience Phoenix physicians who have been in the valley for many, many monsoon seasons, we have a few monsoon and migraine tips for you.
Migraines and Monsoons – The Correlation
It’s not a myth, or just in your head – monsoons can trigger migraines and extreme headaches. Many times Phoenix physicians will get the question, “I know this sounds strange, but I swear my headaches get worse when there’s a storm or monsoon coming through.” No, it doesn’t sound strange, because it is a factual reality.
There are a few things associated with monsoon season that can directly trigger migraines.
- Changes in barometric pressure
- Changes in humidity
- Changes in temperature
Listed below are the common environmental triggers for migraines, according to WebMD.com:
- Weather or barometric pressure changes: 73%
- Intense odors: 64%
- Bright or flickering lights: 59%
- Smoke: 53%
- Extreme heat or cold: 38%
- Altitude changes: 31%
- High winds: 18%
As you can see, many of those elements are directly related to our monsoon season.
Tips for Managing Migraines During Monsoon Season
As a Phoenix physician with Family Practice Specialists, I’ve been in Arizona for many, many years. In fact, Family Practice Specialists is going on our 45th year serving Phoenix! So, I’ve seen more than my fair share of monsoon seasons, dust storms, and ridiculous lighting shows. Arizona has some beautiful, and destructive, weather patterns.
With that said, Arizona also has some extreme weather patterns, and none more extreme than an Arizona summer where extreme heat meets monsoon season. This is a double-whammy, so to speak, for Phoenix migraine sufferers.
But, over the years, I’ve also learned a few things regarding how to prepare for migraines during monsoon season in Phoenix, and how to prevent migraines.
- Keep a Diary – I know this sounds strange, but every medical expert who specializes in migraines and headaches will ask you to keep a medical journal. Write down the weather, what you ate, your activities, and anything else you can think of related to triggering the migraine. Be specific. Your Phoenix physician can use this information to help diagnose the underlining problem.
- Medications – Both over-the-counter medications and prescription medications can ease migraine pain. Talk to your Phoenix physician about the possibility of needing these during monsoon season.
- Humidifier/Ionizer – If you are indeed suffering from a barometric pressure triggered migraine, go into a dark room with a humidifier or ionizer. You need to change the atmosphere in order to give your headache a chance to subside.
- Accuweather – Accuweather.com offers a great new tool for analyzing if it’s going to be a ‘bad’ day for migraine sufferers. Accuweather will let you know if it will be a high risk day or a good day for barometric pressure migraines. Download the app, set up alerts, do whatever you need to do to be proactive in understanding the weather.
As your Phoenix physician, there is a lot that we can talk about in relation to monsoon season and migraines, but you will need to be proactive in preventing them as well.