Influence of barometric pressure in patients with migraine headache

Intern Med. 2011;50(18):1923-8. doi: 10.2169/internalmedicine.50.5640. Epub 2011 Sep 15.


Objective: Barometric pressure has been reported as a triggering and exacerbating factor in migraine headaches, although there are few reports concerning the association of weather change and migraine headache. The relationship between barometric pressure changes and migraine headaches was prospectively examined.

Methods: A total of 28 migraine patients who lived within 10 km of the Utsunomiya Local Meteorological Observatory kept a headache diary throughout the year. Daily and monthly mean barometric pressure data of the Utsunomiya Local Meteorological Observatory were obtained via the homepage of the Meteorological Office.

Results: The correlation between headache frequency obtained by the headache diaries for 1 year and changes in the barometric pressure during the period of 2 days before and 2 days after the headache onset were evaluated. The frequency of migraine increased when the difference in barometric pressure from the day the headache occurred to the day after was lower by more than 5 hPa, and decreased when the difference in barometric pressure from the day the headache occurred to 2 days later was higher by more than 5 hPa. Of 28 patients, weather change was associated with migraine headache development in 18 (64%) patients, 14 of which reported low barometric pressure to be a cause of headache. There was no association between the monthly mean barometric pressure and headache frequency throughout the year.

Conclusion: Barometric pressure change can be one of the exacerbating factors of migraine headaches.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Air Pressure*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Migraine Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Migraine Disorders / etiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Self Report
  • Weather*