Reader’s Mail: Association Between Migraine and Weather

Q. I have suffered from migraines without aura for most of my life. I recently moved from Wisconsin to Arizona and had a substantial increase in migraines during the recent monsoon season. There is an excessive amount of lightning, which strikes the ground repeatedly during storms, and thunder as well. The barometric pressure elevates to as much as 30.28 inches. Has there been any research that would indicate that lightning, thunder and elevated barometric pressure can affect the brain and trigger these migraines?

I use Imitrex® to abort my headaches, but take so many in the course of a week, I am concerned it will affect my heart. Is there anything I can do to avoid so many headaches, short of moving? Continue Reading


Case Studies in Headache: Thunderclap Headache

By Todd Schwedt, M.D.
Director of the Washington University Headache Center in St. Louis, Missouri

A 52-year-old woman was sitting on her sofa watching television when she had a rapid onset of excruciatingly severe pain located in the back of her head and upper neck. Although she had gotten a few headaches over the years, this headache frightened her due to the quickness with which it started and its extreme intensity. She described it as “like getting hit in the back of the head with a bat.” Since she was sure that something ominous had occurred, she called 911. Continue Reading


Reader’s Mail Archive: Thunderclap Headache

Q: I have been living with daily migraine headaches for the past eight years. Then, a few months ago, I got a headache with pain so intense that my whole left side went numb along with my vision. I spent two separate times in the hospital. I still have a daily headache. I am also in physical therapy once a week to help my left side; my vision is still blurry in the left eye.

I have had an MRI of my head along with blood work, and seen a neurologist, neuro-ophthalmologist and an ophthalmologist but have found no obvious cause. I am very frustrated as I just want relief from the pain. I would like to know what caused this to happen. Continue Reading


Thunderclap Headache

There have been articles in the medical literature describing a sudden, severe headache that may mimic a thunderclap in its intensity and severity. Some researchers feel it may be a warning of an impending rupture of an aneurysm or weak blood vessel. It can also be a benign syndrome as well, often seen in migrainous individuals.

Since the nature of the headache by itself cannot allow distinction between benign and serious causes, it is essential to seek out prompt medical evaluation if the onset of a headache is sudden and severe.


Cerebral Aneurysm

This is a condition in which there is a weakness within an artery wall causing it to balloon out and sometimes rupture. In most cases involving the cerebral blood vessels these are present from birth and are asymptomatic and unrelated to migraine or other headaches. Continue Reading