Barometric pressure refers to air pressure or atmospheric pressure, which may change depending upon the weather conditions or altitude. Barometric pressure headache occurs due to changes in the atmospheric pressure. These headaches are classified into non migraine and migraine type depending upon the combination of symptom presentation.
The sensitivity of pain would vary from person to person and depends upon a host of factors including environmental changes and general health condition of the individual. There are other factors like degree of stress, tension and use of nicotine and caffeine that can also influence the manifestation of headache.
Symptoms Of Barometric Pressure Headache
Similar to general headaches, individuals with barometric pressure headaches may experience symptoms of varying intensity. These symptoms may range from minor discomfort to severe debilitating pain, which comes on periodically and may last for about four hours to a couple of days. In individuals suffering from migraine like barometric pressure headaches, it considerably interferes with their ability to function effectively during the attack.
Though most individuals sensitive to barometric changes can develop headaches, statistics suggest that approximately 12 % of the general population suffers from migraine headaches. Approximately 50 % of individuals prone to migraine are sensitive to weather changes and barometric pressure change is considered to the third most common cause responsible to trigger migraine attack.
Some of the unique symptoms associated with barometric pressure headaches include,
- Typically barometric pressure headaches are bilateral (i.e. affect either sides of the head) however occasionally unilateral head pain may be present.
- Barometric pressure headache is associated with a tight band of pressure which moves gradually across the head.
- Pain is often localized around the forehead or the nasal bridge region. Occasionally an individual may experience throbbing pain in the nape and the occipital region.
- In some cases, headache due to barometric pressure can manifest in the form of cluster headaches which are characterized by nasal congestion, runny nose, sweating, and redness of an eye with swelling of the eyelids. The pain may range from moderate to severe.
Treatment For Barometric Pressure Headaches
The treatment of barometric pressure headache depends upon correct diagnosis. Individuals are recommended to maintain a headache diary to identify the various factors that can trigger headache in an individual. This helps identify barometric pressure headaches, which are often associated with change in altitude, air travel or change in weather.
The treatment regimen for management of barometric pressure headaches include the following,
- Alternate cold and hot compress is considered beneficial in the management of barometric pressure headache.
- Homeopathic medications are beneficial in treatment of barometric pressure headaches. Drugs like Merc Sol, Arsenic Alb and Bryonia have potential benefits when taken in low doses. In cases of headache accompanied with running nose, Silicea is recommended. Homeopathic drugs act effectively when taken in low doses and repeated over several times in a day as recommended by doctor.
- Acupressure is also considered beneficial. The head points are located along with sides of the fingers and gently compressing them can provide sustained relief.
- Caffeine is used for the treatment of different times of headaches since it acts as a vasoconstrictor and helps relieve headache in about 40% of the cases.