A headache-prone person would want to go from pumpkins to mistletoe once without experiencing a splitting headache. But where there are heads, there will be headaches, and for some people, the winter months are when they manifest themselves most frequently.
Almost everyone experiences headaches occasionally; fortunately, the majority of them are minor annoyances that pass quickly. However, frequent or particularly intense headaches may indicate a more serious condition, such as a headache disease.
According to the US National Library of Medicine, migraine is one of the most prevalent headache disorders and frequently results in throbbing pain on one side of the head as well as other possible symptoms like sensitivity to light and sound, nausea, and visual, sensory, or speech disturbances known as aura.
Similar to symptoms, everyone has different headaches and migraine triggers. According to the American Migraine Foundation, a large number of patients claim that their head pain is impacted by the weather, even though research has not been able to prove that the seasons themselves make a difference.
A few hypotheses might also help to explain this experience. Experts were consulted by SELF to learn why headaches are more common throughout the winter and what you can do to feel better on those gloomy, chilly days.
There are a few explanations for why you could experience greater headaches in the winter.
Niushen Zhang, MD, head of Stanford Medicine’s headache division and clinical associate professor of neurology, tells SELF that one of the intriguing things they observe in their clinical practice is that people frequently experience an increase in migraine frequency immediately following the holiday season.
It’s remarkable how many triggers we tend to identify with winter and how frequently they occur for those with migraines. Potential triggers include consuming alcohol (mulled wine, anyone? ), having too little or too much caffeine, seeing bright or flashing lights, smelling strongly of something (like scented candles), and eating specific meals (aged cheeses and cured meats are biggies).
And indeed, according to the Mayo Clinic, changes in the weather can also cause migraines. That includes extremely dry air, extremely cold weather, and windy or stormy weather (take your pick between central heating and the icy, parched outdoors). Weather changes and shorter winter days may also lead to an imbalance in brain chemicals like serotonin, which in some people may contribute to migraine episodes.
Let’s assume you’re not getting enough sleep, your job is particularly demanding as the new year begins, and your diet has changed recently. Oh yes, and it’s cold and dark outdoors now, so your daily power walks are now at most weekly strolls. Hello, headache center for the winter. Unfortunately, winter cannot be instantly ended. However, that doesn’t imply you have to endure pain.
How can I prevent migraines during winter?
Maintain a trigger log
Knowing your triggers and creating a strategy should be your first steps if you’re concerned that your existing therapies won’t work in the winter. The Cleveland Clinic states that keeping a symptom record can be very helpful: It might assist you in identifying your sensitivities and assist your doctor in better comprehending your headache or migraine episodes.
Record the day and time each headache begins, the length of time it lasts during each phase, your unique symptoms (such as the location and intensity of the pain), and other details that might help you determine what caused the headache.
There are a few significant variables to consider each time you experience a headache: How much slumber did you get the previous night? What’s the climate like today? How much eatable and drinkable were you that day?
Focus on taking care of yourself
Preventing headaches and migraines requires putting your general health first. It could be more beneficial to think about headaches in particular as energy problems. If you are aware that your brain is predisposed to migraines, you should be aware that every time you experience more stress, your brain needs to work harder to operate. By taking care of your body and mind, you may try your best to maintain a steady level of energy. This is when self-care is beneficial.
Pay attention to caring for oneself
It’s crucial to prioritize your general health if you want to avoid getting headaches and migraines. It could be more beneficial to think about headaches in particular as energy problems. If you are aware that your brain is predisposed to migraines, you should be aware that every time you experience more stress, your brain needs to work harder to operate. By taking care of your body and mind, you may try your best to maintain a steady level of energy. This is when self-care is beneficial.
Maintaining your usual regimen as consistently as you can over the winter is crucial. Make a strategy to keep exercising as the weather becomes bad if you regularly exercise outside during the hot months, she advises. Continue arranging arrangements if you see your buddies frequently. Always keep in mind that the aim is to lessen the number of changes you go through from day to day and from season to season.