We all know the feeling: a dull, throbbing headache that seems to worsen when the weather changes. It’s that darn barometric pressure headache again!
Why is that? And what can we do about it?
I’ve personally done a TON of research on this topic to combat my own battle with chronic migraines & severe headaches…. so I’m here to fill you in on the best natural remedies to prevent barometric pressure headaches (and migraines!)
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you purchase through a link.
What’s a barometric pressure headache?
First, what are these pesky headaches anyway? Barometric pressure headaches, also known as weather-related headaches, are known to be caused by changes in atmospheric pressure.
These pressure changes can occur due to weather patterns such as storms, high-pressure systems, and rapid changes in temperature. Any of these changes can affect headaches!
Also, this kind of headache can be triggered by both rising and falling barometric pressure and is often accompanied by other painful symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, muscle pain, and even light numbness!
(Have you ever heard your grandpa complain about knee pain when it storms? It’s similar to that!)
While over-the-counter medication can provide some pain relief, there are also some natural remedies to help migraine and headache sufferers. Take a looksy!
1. Stock up on Electrolytes
Before you say that sodium is unhealthy, hear me out! Ok, the migraine and headache brain is overactive and hyper-alert. Therefore, it requires more sodium and proper electrolyte balance to remain pain-free when the pressure drops or rises and our bodies need less or more sodium.
How do you know? Apps like MigrianeBuddy or even the weather app, Wunderground can update you on air pressure changes and daily fluctuations. If you see a big CRASH or drop in pressure, snag the salt and electrolytes ASAP!
These are my FAVORITE – for reference, I take down approximately three packs daily.
OK, but what if the pressure is RISING?
I’ve got you….
Stock up on Potassium-Rich Foods
Now, if you notice the pressure rising, you’ll need to act fast! I always look a few days out to anticipate my fueling window. (Personally, I start to feel the shift BEFORE it arrives…)
Managing a pressure rise is much harder to tackle than the pressure decline, as mentioned above. That is because we mainly get potassium from food that needs to be digested and then distributed in our bodies. The whole process just takes longer than putting salt under your tongue.
Sodium-Rich Foods to have on hand include:
- Canned Tuna or Chicken (salt-free, obviously!)
- Ground Turkey (deli meat will have too much sodium)
- Avocados, nuts, and seeds (again, unsalted)
- Nonfat milk or Goats milk (non-or low fat!)
You can also cook up a sodium-rich meal if you have time
- Chicken breasts
- Fish – especially halibut and salmon
- Beef – steak and ground beef
- (Basically, all animal products!)
During times when the pressure is stable, it’s critical that migraineurs and headache sufferers eat sodium and potassium in equal balanced proportions. Dr. Angela Stanton wrote an entire book on this! (And it’s a MUST READ for anyone suffering from migraines!)
Still wondering what else you can do?
3. Drink plenty of water:
We know dehydration can trigger headaches, so it’s essential to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water daily. This is especially important during times of changing barometric pressure, as the body may need more water to compensate for any fluids lost due to sweating or increased urination.
But remember, as a migraine or headache sufferer, you should be salting your water AND not chugging your H2o. We need to balance fluids throughout the day, so it’s best to drink 8 ounces of salted water every two hours. (If you can!)
4. Get regular exercise (BUT STAY INDOORS DURING PRESSURE CHANGES)
This might be a no-brainer, but move your body and get in some physical activity! Exercise can help reduce the frequency and intensity of headaches by increasing blood flow to the head and releasing endorphins, which are natural painkillers.
It’s important to choose activities that are low-impact and do not put excess strain on the head and neck – especially during big weather shifts.
I always opt-out of doing ANY upper-body workouts during barometric pressure changes…. I know my “current body” can’t take the upper body stress or additional triggers.
But you gotta do what works for YOU!
5. Practice relaxation techniques:
It makes sense that avoiding unnecessary stress during weather changes is important! Stress and tension can contribute to the development of headaches on their own, so it’s crucial to find ways to relax and de-stress. (And not only when the weather changes, my friend!)
Some of my favorite relaxation techniques to beat migraine pain that may be helpful to you include deep breathing, meditation, warm bath, and yoga.
6. Try herbal remedies
Some herbs and supplements may have properties that can help relieve headache pain and other symptoms associated with barometric pressure headaches. Examples include ginger, which has anti-inflammatory properties, and butterbur, which may help reduce the frequency of migraines. I also use a probiotic, CoQ10 and take magnesium to help with my brain’s cellular energy!
It’s important to evaluate ingredients and ensure you’re getting supplements from a manufacturer with high efficacy standards, such as Standard Process, Pure Encapsulations, or THORNE.
NOTE: I AM NOT A DOCTOR, so if you’re going to start any of these supplements it’s important to speak with a healthcare provider before you start!
7. Eat a healthy low-carb diet:
On that note, as headache sufferers, it’s important we eat a balanced diet, specifically a healthy lower carb diet. (Even if you’re taking supplements) Because of the fluctuations in blood glucose caused by the Standard American Diet (SAD) this can wreak havoc on migraine sufferers (who are usually known to be glucose sensitive anyway!)
This also goes for skipping meals – don’t try to fast when a barometric shift is on its way!
If you add the pressure changes on top of a rollercoaster of glucose fluctuations, well… then you’re just asking for a severe headache! EEK! Don’t say I didn’t warn you…
8. Try an air filter
Dry air and toxins can contribute to the development of headaches, so using a humidifier or air filter in the home (or office) may help alleviate symptoms. Keeping the air moist may also help prevent sinus problems and inner ear issues – both of which can also cause headaches.
I have this great air filter in our bedroom that doubles as a sound machine, lol. Two of my home remedies in one 🙂
9. Get plenty of rest
Obviously, sleep is important for overall health and well-being, but it can also help prevent the development of headaches. If our brains don’t get enough downtime to reset and regulate, we can find that we have a headache or migraine the next day.
Not to mention, increased body pain….
It’s important to aim for at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night and to establish a regular sleep routine. Also, avoid brightly lit areas and screens prior to bed to ensure quality rest.
Catching those zzzzz’s helps to prevent you from ending up with a double whammy of a barometric pressure AND sleep deprivation headache combo!
BONUS- My Pro Tip: Allergy Medicine
You might be thinking, WHAT? Allergy medicine to help with barometric pressure? But the truth is, its helps! Even if you don’t suffer from allergies or related symptoms, these medicines can help ‘dry you out’ and keep your head clear during the crazy weather shifts.
I actually have an RX for this from my neurologist, but you can also grab Zyrtec or Allegra from your local pharmacy and give it a try!? Again, whatever works for YOU!
Why does barometric pressure cause headaches?
The exact mechanisms by which changes in barometric pressure can trigger a headache are not fully understood by the medical field. However, many functional doctors share theories that suggest that pressure changes may affect the volume of fluid in the brain and surrounding tissues, leading to changes in blood flow and nerve activity. (Hence the sodium & potassium mix!)
Other theories suggest that pressure changes may affect the function of the trigeminal nerve, which is involved in the perception of pain and other sensations in the head and face.
If you do find yourself with a migraine or experience headaches during a pressure change, make sure to have one of these ice pack hats (or something similar) on hand. These have been a lifesaver for me!!
The Wrap Up
The symptoms of a barometric pressure headache can vary, but they may include a throbbing or dull headache, sensitivity to light or sound, nausea, and fatigue. These headaches may come on gradually or suddenly, and they may last for a few hours to a few days.
Some people may also experience other symptoms such as neck stiffness or changes in mood. Some people may be more sensitive to these changes and may experience a headache as a result.
Suppose you think you may be experiencing a barometric pressure headache or a headache triggered by weather changes. In that case, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment. BUT…. I hope these natural remedies help you!!
Is there something that works for your pressure headaches? Holler!!