The frequency of migraine headaches increased when atmospheric pressure was dropping and decreased when it was increasing, Japanese researchers report.
Changes in barometric pressure have been cited as playing a role in triggering and exacerbating migraine headaches. However, as there have been few studies of the association between weather change and migraine, a group of neurologists at Dokkyo Medical University in Japan carried out a prospective study of the relationship between barometric pressure change and migraine frequency. Their results were published online last month in the journal Internal Medicine, which is published by the Japanese Society of Internal Medicine.
The study included 28 participants, all of whom lived within 10 kilometers of the Utsunomiya Local Meteorological Observatory. The participants kept a daily headache diary for a year, and the frequency of their migraines was compared with barometric pressure data from the observatory.
The researchers found that there was no association between the mean barometric pressure in a given day or month and migraine frequency during that day or month. However, it did find that the frequency of migraine increased when the barometric pressure dropped by more than 5 hPa between the day the headache occurred and the day after, and decreased when the barometric pressure increased by more than 5hPa between the day the headache occurred and two days later.
The results suggest that the migraines are more likely to occur when the barometric pressure is falling and less likely to occur when it is rising. Of the 28 study participants, weather change was associated with migraine development in 18, 14 of whom reported low barometric pressure to be the cause of migraine.
Influence of Barometric Pressure in Patients with Migraine Headache [Internal Medicine]