Summer Heat and Migraine Woes

With record-breaking highs recorded in Austin this month (well over 105 degrees F), my migraine attacks have been unrelenting. Heat always exacerbates my condition, but this month has seen a long line of afternoons in which I have been able to do little but curl on the couch with the lights off and the A.C. on.

Unfortunately, while heat is a common enough trigger for migraineurs, there isn’t much we can do to control it. I do my best to stay indoors whenever the temperature exceeds 100 degrees, but it doesn’t seem to help. It’s almost as if my head is aware of how hot it is outside, even if I’m basking in a temperature-controlled room of 70 – 75 degrees.

And, it looks like I’m not alone. Emergency room physicians report that the number of migraineurs seeking treatment in the ER increases when it’s hot, though they’re not quite sure why. And, in Boston, researchers have discovered a 7.5 percent increase in the chance of an attack with every nine-degree increase in temperature.

Some experts have suggested the real culprit is dehydration, but I think I drink plenty of water. Bright sunlight can also be a trigger, so I do my best to wear sunglasses and a hat every time I leave the house. Again, nothing seems to help. So, for now, I’ll resign myself to hanging out inside – a bottle of pain pills to my right and an ice pack to my left – as I eagerly await the cooler days of late October.

How about you? Do you experience more migraine attacks or higher levels of pain when it’s hot? How do you cope?

6 thoughts on “Summer Heat and Migraine Woes

  1. I have the same problem, I live in the middle east and the summer here is brutal. By half of my working day I’m already extremely exhausted from trying to ignore the feeling of the pumping vein in my head. I am so tired, I don’t even know how to cope anymore.. I tried losing weight, as some people say that could be a trigger, I also exercise regularly. nothing seems to work for me other than pills which I try to avoid as I feel like my liver is slowly dying from the amount of migraine pills I take.

    • Hanaan,

      I’m sorry to hear you’re suffering so much. I have to avoid pills myself right now, so I know how hard it can be to cope with a migraine (particularly a summer migraine) without some form of pharmaceutical. Hang in there, and know you’re not alone.

      Wishing you many joy-filled and migraine-free days in the future.

      – Sarah

  2. Glad to find I am not the only one that is being tortured by these on-going heat waves. We live in central PA where the heat has been above 90 for what seems like the last month! I am dreading the fact that my husband’s family reunion is outside this Saturday on a day they are calling for 100 degree weather! There will be no AC to escape to; I’ve been considering not going but I know he would be disappointed. So many people don’t understand the suffering that we endure so thanks for sharing!!

    • Ashley,

      That’s a tough call. If you went, I hope you were able to keep cool and enjoy yourself. If you didn’t go, I hope your husband’s family understood. Luckily, summer heat waves don’t last forever. Here’s hoping you stay as well as possible in the meantime. – Sarah

  3. I’m in NJ and for the past 4 or 5 years have experienced headache with off balance feeling during hot , humid weather. I have years of sinus issues, although an ENT did a cat scan and said my sinus were normal. He advised seeing an alergist. My doctors theory is that allergins cause swelling in my upper sinus and to take Advil and use Flonase, both reduce swelling. FUnny how when the weather cools, I feel great. Perhaps I have heat migraines???? How did any of you confirm that it is migraines and not other causes?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s