Weather report: Migraines ahead

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When migraine researchers compared 2 years of headache diaries from 77 migraine sufferers with National Weather Service data, science upheld popular wisdom about the big headache: Weather really can bring one on.

Half of the study volunteers had head pain triggered by the weather. The top culprits:

• Cold, dry weather: 22% • Hot, humid weather: 12% • High or low barometric pressure: 13% • Changes in weather patterns: 14%

Others were sensitive to a combination of weather conditions. "A weather change could occur on a Tuesday and these patients might not get their migraine until Wednesday or Thursday," says study coauthor Alan M. Rapoport, MD, director of the New England Center for Headache in Stamford, CT.

Pain relief strategy: Keep track of headaches and weather conditions to uncover triggers. And take your migraine prescription at the first sign of head pain.

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By Lois Levine

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