Science says bad weather is causing Britons a real headache

Science says bad weather is causing Britons a real headache

Almost one in seven people suffer from weather-triggered headaches (Image: Getty Images)

We’ve had a rough ride weather-wise over the past few months.

Three major storms and all the wind, rain and even hail they have brought with them since last September have given Britons a massive headache.

Literally, according to the Met Office.

The way the storm causes a rapid change in air pressure can cause aches and pains, Marco Petagna, chief operational meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said on social media.

“Do you get a headache or joint pain as Storm Ciaran passes?” He said this on X, formerly known as Twitter, on November 2.

Sharing an article from San Diego-based medical company Sharp HealthCare, Petagna said science suggests it “may be caused, at least in part, by rapidly changing air pressure.”

Nine million people in Britain – or one in seven – suffer from weather-related headaches every year.

Among them was Rand, a user based in London. “I had a headache and generally felt very strange today,” they told Petagna.

James Woodford, who lives in Aylesbury, said: “That explains it. I had a headache this morning and had a feeling it might be due to very low pressure today.”

Air pressure, sometimes called barometric pressure, simply means how heavy the air around us is.

Differences in atmospheric pressure due to weather It can affect the human body, although some people are more sensitive than others to changes in pressure.

Your sinuses are filled with air, so when the pressure inside them doesn’t match the surrounding atmosphere, it can cause a sinus headache.

This pressure mismatch also applies to our heads and brains, leaving some people with severe headaches.

Researchers say low-pressure storms can cause headaches and worsen joint pain (Image: EPA)

“Blood flow to our brains is very sensitive to changes in oxygen,” said Dr. Joseph Aquilina, chief medical officer at SharpCare Medical Group.

“To increase oxygen delivery to the brain, the body naturally dilates cerebral blood vessels. This increases blood flow to the brain but can cause headaches.”

Inclement weather – especially when combined with humidity and excessive heat – can be a trigger for migraines because the unbalanced pressure becomes too much for the body.

So rare low air pressure as much as 50 mb below normal in recent weeks – with 961 mb in Domingos and 953 mb in Ciaran – has led to a bout of weather-induced headaches.

As the NHS says: “If you are prone to headaches, you may find that storms can trigger headaches.

It is believed that pressure changes that cause weather changes lead to chemical and electrical changes in the brain. This irritates the nerves and leads to headaches.

Why can bad weather cause headaches and migraines? For years, scientists have left headaches behind.

Everything from genetics to how gloomy weather causes a chemical imbalance in the brain is thought to be to blame.

Low pressure associated with an incoming storm may also worsen joint pain, researchers say.

Some weather services even include “pain forecasts” for those with migraines or arthritis, warning them when to take it easy or pop some painkillers on top of their umbrella.

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