Last month, we wrote on the topic of headaches and dehydration, especially during hot summer months. But with monsoon season in full swing, the changes in weather also bring what some have dubbed as “migraine season.” As the summer storms roll in, our pain specialists see an increase in appointments and complaints from weather-related chronic pain symptoms, including migraines.
Barometric Pressure and Chronic Pain
While we spend a lot of time and focus on dehydration and staying cool during the summer months, this is also the time of year that we like to discuss how changes in barometric pressure can affect chronic pain, namely migraines. Barometric pressure, another term for atmospheric pressure, is the force put on our bodies by the air around us. With the monsoon storms comes a sharp drop in barometric pressure and increase in humidity. While many studies have been conducted to prove, or disprove, the connection between migraines and barometric pressure, there has been little scientific evidence to go either way. However, if you suffer from migraines you know that the weather plays a huge role in how you're feeling that day.
Preparing for the Monsoon
Any Arizona pain doctor will tell you how important it is to keep stress levels low and reduce anxiety to control pain. However, during the monsoon season, when atmospheric pressure plays a role in pain management, anxiety regarding the weather patterns can be difficult to control. It's a vicious cycle; increased pressure in the atmosphere due to oncoming storms leads to increased pain, which leads to increased anxiety, which only makes matters worse. Before you know it, your body is trained to feel increased pain at the very thought of a summer monsoon.
There's not much you can do to stop the barometric pressure from falling, and whether you're indoors or outdoors this change in air pressure will follow you. When you know a storm is coming, do your best to reduce stress by creating distractions. Perhaps go to a movie where you'll be indoors through the worst of the storm. Or, as many of our patients do, draw up a warm Epsom salt bath, grab a good book and a cup of herbal tea, and relax as the storm blows by.
Finally, if this monsoon season has already done a number on your chronic pain, talk to a board certified pain management specialist about possible solutions.