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?