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Barometric headaches
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Barometric headaches

Hi,
I have asthma and allergies, as well as a variety of ailments.  I get pounding headaches right before the weather changes to rain or snow.  Is there anything that can be done to prevent or treat this?  Regular headache meds don't usually help and I try not to take too many medications these days.  I also suffer from sensitive sense of smell and light sensitivity during these headaches.  I am in a basement, so I am afraid to get a humidifier because of mold, however it is dry here from the heat.  I'm not sure if that is related or not.  Does anyone have experience with this?  

Lori
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I'm on Periactin, an antihystamine, that helps w/ the barometric headaches a little, but mostly I just suffer through them.
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Thank you.  I tried a Claritin, lots of water and an Omega 3 oil capsule.  It is pretty nasty in NY, but my head is feeling much better.  This happens every time we get bad weather.  I'd love to prevent it without drugs.  Looks like I should try an antihistamine, thanks.

Lori
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Hi Loribop,

My migraine headaches are triggered by atmospheric pressure/barometric pressure changes. Weather changes are the main trigger for my migraine headaches. Barometric pressure changes are a very common trigger for migraine headaches.

If you suffer from migraine headaches, then there are three first-line daily preventative treatments that are used to prevent migraine headaches: antidepressants (in the tricyclic category, specifically Amitriptyline or Nortriptyline); anticonvulsants (such as valproic acid or topiramate); and beta blockers (such as nadolol or propranolol). If none of those work, then other options include: Botox injections or calcium channel blockers.

Acute migraine medication can also be used to abort a migraine as soon as it begins to come on, so as soon as you start to feel a headache as the weather begins to change, you could take an acute migraine medication so that you did not get the headache. First-line acute migraine medications are triptans. There are currently 7 triptans on the market, plus one triptan that is also mixed with an NSAID called Naproxen. I believe that fast acting triptans are the best in most situations because they work the fastest. Fast acting triptans come in orally disintegrating tablets or nasal sprays. I personally use Zomig Nasal Spray and find it works extremely well. I also have found great success with Maxalt-MLTs. Although, everyone is different and all of the triptans on the market have been proven effective in clinical trials, so please discuss with your doctor which triptan would be the most appropriate in your situation.

Other acute migraine medications include analgesics and antiemetics. An analgesic that is often prescribed for migraine headaches is Naproxen. It is often advised that over-the-counter analgesics should be avoided since they are usually not very effective and can cause rebound headaches. So instead of treating a headache with an over-the-counter analgesic, please talk to your doctor about prescription for a suitable medication first.

The antiemetic Metoclopramide can also be prescribed even if no nausea or vomiting is involved because as well as being an antiemetic, it also helps to treat pain. Metoclopramide, if taken with other headache medications, has been shown to increase the effectiveness of the other headache medications.

I also notice you mention that you would love to prevent your headaches without the use of medications. There are three daily supplements that have been shown to dramatically reduce the number of acute migraine headache attacks and severity of acute migraine attacks. These supplements are: Vitamin B2 @ 400mg per day; Magnesium @ 400mg to 600mg per day; Coenzyme Q10 @ 300mg per day. Vitamin B2 and Magnesium have the most scientific evidence proving that they work, whereas it is not as clear if Coenzyme Q10 works as well as the other two. Magnesium will also help with other types of headaches, such as tension-type headaches.

Some safety notes on the supplements: Vitamin B2 is non-toxic even in high doses but it is always best to check with your doctor or pharmacist prior to starting anything. Please check with your doctor prior to starting Magnesium as it can react badly with certain medical conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes, and certain medications, such as oral diabetes medications, antibiotics and diuretics (just to name a few). I would personally start at no more than 400mg of magnesium daily, although trials have used between 400mg and 600mg of magnesium daily; but, higher doses of magnesium can result in stomach upset. So, it's better to start at 400mg of magnesium daily and then increase the dose slowly to 600mg if you don't see an improvement at 400mg.

I hope some of this information is helpful. I wish you well in controlling your barometric headaches. Keep in touch!

- marilee
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Wow, thank you so much for all of that information.   What an informative post!  While my sister suffers from migranes (migraines), I didn't think my headaches were migranes (migraines) because I am able to go to work and function.  Perhaps they are migranes (migraines) and I am used to ignoring them.  Although my headache from yesterday is gone, my hair still hurts, if that makes sense.  My scalp is sore to the touch and I can't put my hair in a clip or ponytail today.
I take calcium / magnesium and B12 every day, but I will try the B2 and co Q10.  If need be I will ask my Dr. about some of the medications you mentioned.  I always thought it was sinus related.

Thanks again, I am going to reread your post a few times!

Lori
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