Do you get more frequent headaches when the weather turns cold, dry and blustery?
Headaches and migraines brought on by or aggravated by changes in the weather are one of the top things we get asked about in our workshops and online communities.
I’ve often talked about headaches due to changes in barometric pressure right before thunderstorms, but want to focus today on cold weather headaches and share 8 strategies that I personally use if I feel one coming on.
I recently spent some time on a train sitting next to a Polish businessman who seemed more than happy to kill some of hiscommute time chatting with me about the national concern for air pressure changes in Poland. According to his observations, air pressure changes accompanying major shifts in temperature (think freezing cold -5C to REALLY cold -25C)
were what people were prone to blame their severe headaches on in Poland (aside from the usual work stress types of things).
He said, “people in other parts of the world may think this is a crazy idea to pay so much attention to the weather and air pressure changes.”
Is it crazy to tune in to how our bodies respond to changes in our environment? I don’t think so… do you?
Why do I get a headache when the weather changes like this?
Whether it is the barometric pressure or the temperature shift, big swings in the weather and changing of the season can be jarring to our senses and from an Ayurvedic perspective, the changes in the seasons & weather require significant adjustments in our diet and lifestyle to keep our bodies in equilibrium.
Cold, windy and dry weather can throw us into a vata-imbalance, which may show up as tension headaches, gas, bloating or constipation and feeling especially scattered and stressed. If you catch yourself feeling like this, then make a little time to rebalance and melt that headache away.
Many different mechanisms have been suggested to try explain what is happening in the brain to cause headaches as a result of a big change in air pressure, but surprise-surprise – no conclusions yet.
Luckily, we have centuries of wisdom to rely on with regards to pacifying a vata-imbalance and these things really work when it comes to winter weather headaches!
Here are 8 things you can do at home to ward off those winter headaches
Don’t forget that even if it isn’t warm out, you still need to pay extra attention to hydration if it is dry. What a good excuse for some turmeric or ginger tea!
Limit other stress & triggers if you know you are in a season where you are more prone to migraines (this means paying extra attention to sugar and alcohol, food triggers, getting enough rest, etc)
Focus on healthy comfort foods that are warm and spiced– pureed soups, stews, warm smoothies, cooked veggies, golden milk lattes, baked squash with cinnamon.
Avoid raw and crunchy foods like salads, cold juices, popcorn or chips.
Take a bath or hot shower until you feel warmed all the way through. When you get out cover your skin from head to toe with organic almond oil, sesame oil, castor or olive oil.
Massage your feet with a blend of grounding essential oils like vetiver, frankincense, sandalwood or cedarwood and put on wool socks.
Take advantage of the shorter days to wind down in the evening and perhaps even get a little more sleep.
Shift towards more gentle and fluid forms of exercise like a restorative yoga or tai chi practice.
Most of all, don’t resign yourself to tracking the weather and barometric pressure changes and “waiting” for a migraine to happen.
Learn our systematic approach for stopping a migraine in our Ultimate Migraine Relief Course.
C’mon, I know you know someone who lives in a freezing, cold place. Please share this article on Facebook or directly with a friend who needs it.