Sometimes, it’s clear why you have a headache. You didn’t get enough sleep, or maybe you did get too much alcohol. Maybe you’ve been stressed or have been working too hard. But other times the cause is a mystery.
Did you know that it might just be the weather? Here are some of the ways that weather might be causing your headaches.
Barometric Pressure Changes
One of the most common causes of weather-related headaches is pressure changes. Many people experience headaches when the barometric pressure changes, especially when it drops. However, the cause isn’t quite clear. The association is just a correlation at this point without any good explanation, although there are many potential links, such as:
- Joint changes
- Blood sugar changes
- Pressure on sinuses
With barometric pressure changes, the viscosity of fluid in joints changes, too. This can lead to joint pain throughout the body, including the jaw joint. In individuals with intermittent or marginal TMJ, this may trigger the condition, including related headaches.
It becomes harder to control blood sugar when the pressure drops. Although this is mostly an issue for people with diabetes, blood sugar spikes can cause headaches for some people, whether they have diabetes or not.
Another explanation is that the change in pressure causes pressure from the inside of the body on many different sensitive tissues. It takes time for the body to adapt to the new pressure, and in the meantime, you may experience the pressure in the head or sinuses, triggering a headache. This can work the other way, too. When pressure increases outside, you might feel it in your sinuses or elsewhere.
Sudden temperature changes are also associated with increases in headaches. When the temperature drops, the body narrows blood vessels to avoid heat loss. This can have the side effect of suddenly increasing blood pressure, which can cause headaches.
The opposite happens when temperature increases. Blood pressure can drop suddenly, making it hard to supply the brain with oxygen or sugar. The result may be a headache.
A sudden sunny day can also subject you to headaches. That’s because the bright light can be a trigger for migraines. If you find that you get migraines due to bright sunlight, it’s a good idea to invest in sunglasses, and maybe consider ones designed for migraine prevention.
Where Lightning Strikes
Another one of the correlations that aren’t directly linked to causes is lightning strikes. Some data links the prevalence of lightning strikes to the occurrence of headaches. We don’t know why, but we do know that people who are susceptible to headaches and migraines are more likely to get them when lightning is striking in the area.
This may be related to barometric pressure changes or it may be due to a different cause.
You Can’t Control the Weather, but Maybe Your Headaches
If you find that weather changes tend to trigger your headaches or migraines, one underlying cause may be TMJ or sleep apnea. These health conditions are strongly linked to the occurrence of headaches and may also impact blood pressure and other aspects of your response to weather changes.
If other approaches aren’t helping you control your headaches, we’re ready to help. Please call (408) 354-5600 today for an appointment with TMJ and sleep dentist Dr. Nancy Nehawandian at Top Down Dental in Los Gatos.