If Migraine Were A Weather Phenomena

Image Description: felt sign saying “migraine as: storm systems” with trees and blue skies behind it.

We’re all familiar with the idea that migraines and headache types can vary dramatically from person to person and even attack to attack.

What if we broke down migraine and headache types and compared them to various weather types and storms?


It’s dry. It’s hot. It seems to never want to come to an end. Heck, there’s no end in sight. We slowly cut back on how often we water our lawns and gardens. We stay inside more and more. Water slowly runs lower at the grocery store. When it’s hot and there’s no rain everyone’s blood gets close to boiling.

It’s our classic sinus headache.

With little to no humidity in the air, a drought mimics the very thing that makes our sinuses go crazy. Dry air leaves our sinuses inflamed. Lack of quality treatment leaves us slowly getting worse and worse. As the pain intensifies, irritability pops in. We wish the sun would just go away.

Our resources slowly become depleted and with a constant nagging pain, we often give up on treating the sinus headache and doing things that can help in the long term. We may try to space out sinus medications like sudafed – similar to spacing out water for crops – but it doesn’t do much in the long run.

Our sinus headaches can only improve when the rain comes, when humidity re-enters the air and we make an effort to reduce the constant irritation of our sinuses.


Picture Wisconsin, in the dead of Winter – perhaps it’s February and gosh it has been snowing since Christmas and its yet another year where the snow won’t be gone until well into April.

You’ve been pushing through the dreary conditions, fighting for relief but it doesn’t seem to matter how many times you shovel your car out of the snow the end is no where in sight. The guy on the news mentioned that your area is expecting close to five more inches tonight.

You are fatigued. You are emotionally down. You’ve been battling a cold or maybe the flu for months now.

This is a case of an intractable migraine.

And until that long winter begins to let up, your best option is to bury your head in the big snowbank and hope it eases the pain.

Summer Pop Up Storms

Being in the South, as the days get hotter it becomes normal to have a small line of storms roll through every afternoon.

Our pop up storms are easy to relate to a blood sugar headache, or what I consider a “shit if I don’t eat now I’m going to be in trouble” type of pain.

We happen to skip lunch one day or fail to eat enough, maybe we thought an iced coffee would be an adequate replacement and suddenly its 3 PM and we are crashing. The drowsiness begins to set in, the pain is slowly creeping in and we’re a bit nauseous.

It’s just like the humidity slowly going up and the dark clouds rolling in ready to douse the town in a quick shower, leaving it more humid but a bit cooler. The storm dissipates and life quickly returns to normal.

Just like we do when we grab a nourishing bite to eat or mid-afternoon snack.


A tornado is going to best describe your typical migraine.

If you’re a mid-westerner, you’re all too familiar with that special smell a day before tornado carrying storms roll through. The atmosphere is just a little different and the conditions are perfect for things to quickly take a turn for the worst.

You get that uneasy feeling, just like the pro-drome phase of a migraine and often times you feel as if there isn’t much you can do except bunker down for the storm. You’ve already got your tornado room stocked with everything you may need – extra water, food, batteries, flashlights. It’s a lot like your migraine tool box of essential oils, emergency medications, ice packs and comfort items.

As the storm moves in, it becomes dangerous.

A stray tornado may touch down, ripping apart barns, throwing fence rails across town, and creating a total path of destruction. And as quickly as it came, it’s gone. You’re left to pick up the pieces and carry on.

If anyone is like me and has migraine brain, it often feels like I go through the worst of my pain like a tornado leaving a mess everywhere I go. I eventually crash on the couch or in bed and wake up to find the mess I’ve left behind.

Tropical Heat Wave

You know that overwhelming feeling you get when its so hot and you just can’t breathe? You can barely function and you don’t even want to function. You know you need to stay hydrated, but you can’t even manage to consistently drink water or eat much of anything.

It feels like everything is piling up, your aches and pains seem to be worse. Nothing you do lets you cool down. The heat has caused your stomach to be a mess. You can’t concentrate on anything but the heat and wow you are awfully tired. Even your stomach is a bit of a mess.

A heat wave is your stress, anxiety and depression induced headaches.

You begin to lock yourself away to avoid the mess of the world, but until you find the motivation to address the smallest areas – hydrating and eating, you’re going to continue to suffer.


Just like your mid-western friends can smell when a tornado is coming, our fancy weather models let those on the coast know when a hurricane is barreling towards them.

And it isn’t just barreling directly towards your town, it is spinning and the spinning seems to be increasing in speed and the scale is nothing like you’ve ever seen. Welcome to a vestibular migraine.

You are dizzy. You’ve got all the other joys of a migraine and have decided to pile in every balance issue you can think of from vertigo to dizziness.

Your cognitive function is about as good as the person who got to the grocery store late to discover that the water and bread is in fact out just like the news reported.

That Scene In The Day After Tomorrow When The Temperature Drops Dramatically And The Helicopters Fall Out Of The Sky

Image result for the day after tomorrow freeze scene helicopter
Image from theagonybooth.com depicting helicopter pilot attempting to leave frozen helicopter in The Day After Tomorrow

Ever get an sharp ice pick like pain that goes through your brain? Worst migraine pain there can be in my opinion. Sometimes it lasts for a few seconds, other times it takes longer to let up.

This dramatic drop in temperatures depicted in this movie represent both our ice-pick headaches and cluster headaches.

It comes out of no where and usually leaves you down for the count, or in the case of this helicopter pilot, well, frozen to death.

Sunny and 75

It’s the perfect weather to be outside and enjoying life. Windows down? Sure. Day spent at the beach or the park? Absolutely. Barbecue weather. Summer is coming weather.

Joe Nichols music kind of weather.

And most importantly, migraine freedom weather.

So, what storm system would you compare your head pain to?

Personally, I find myself stuck battling a drought with occasional tornadoes rolling through and slightly contradictory snowstorm also fighting for attention.


7 thoughts on “If Migraine Were A Weather Phenomena

  1. Tornado and ice pick are very regular. There are 3 ways I get a migraine, and none of them are fun. Nothing like waking up and knowing by 3pm I’ll be writing in pain. Fun and relatable article.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is sooooo accurate. My life is full of that scene from day after tomorrow. Clusters for half the year, ice picks a handful of times a week. Sprinkle a dozen droughts throughout the month with the occassional tornado and sums up my year haha

    Liked by 1 person

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