Study Finds Lightening Triggers Chronic Migraine

April 2, 2013

It’s not surprising that a thunderstorm would trigger chronic migraines or headaches.  The deafening rumble of thunder accompanied by terrifying vibrations that send your proud Labrador retriever scampering under the bed like a Chihuahua would be enough to give anyone a headache!  Interestingly however, a professor of internal medicine from the University of Cincinnati and his team of researchers, including his son who is a medical student, found that lightening – not thunder – was the trigger for pain in chronic headache and migraine sufferers.  The purpose of the study, published in the January 24th online edition of Cephalalgia, was to determine whether lightening is linked with an increased frequency in headaches.

The 90 subjects who were recruited for the study experienced migraines, as defined by the International Headache Society, and were required to maintain a headache journal.  The results of the data showed that when lightening hit within 25 miles of the individuals’ the chronic headache sufferers were 31 percent more likely develop a headache and the chronic migraineurs were 28 percent more likely to experience a migraine.  According to a report, that featured interviews with the researchers, on the University of Cincinnati’s website, mathematical models were applied to eliminate the effect of other weather related factors.  The result still showed that lightening increased the likelihood for a headache by 19 percent.

Although it wasn’t clear what meteorological factors played a role in increasing headaches among the chronic migraineurs and headache sufferers, the scientists indicated that fungal spore generation, negatively charged electrical currents, or bioaerosols created by lightening may be involved.  Other weather related events like barometric pressure and humidity have been linked with triggering headaches and migraines. According to the University of Cincinnati report, the researchers believe further study in this area will yield the important answer to the question of ‘what exactly causes the lightening-headache connection.’  Armed with this latest research and earlier studies linking weather changes with migraines and headaches, it is clear that preventative symptom strategies are your best defense if you suffer with a chronic headache condition.


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