If you’re prone to migraines, you might an increase in the summer. Hot weather, humidity, and increased potential for dehydration can all be triggers.
Since treating migraines isn’t always effective, it makes sense to focus on prevention. Magnesium is one natural option for migraine reduction that works for some migraineurs.
What are Migraines?
Sometimes confused with headaches, migraine is a condition that results in intense and recurring headaches, among other symptoms. Prior to the actual headache, some people experience sensory changes, called an aura. An aura can include vision changes such as light flashes or blind spots, or tingling in hands or face. Migraine with aura is defined as classic migraine, while cases that do not experience aura are classified as common migraine.
Auras are generally a warning sign that precede the full blown migraine, which typically includes pulsing pain on one or both sides of the head, light and sound sensitivity, and nausea/vomiting. Following an attack, many feel confused, exhausted, or relieved. Sudden head movement is not recommended as it can briefly induce pain again.
Migraines are caused by both genetic and environmental elements, but their exact origins remain enigmatic to researchers. The brainstem and its interactions with certain nerves, especially those that act as pain pathways in the brain, as well as chemical imbalances in the brain, are suspected to play a significant role.
Different people get migraines for different reasons. They can be triggered by a multitude of different things, including but not limited to:
- Changes in hormones in women
Changes in estrogen levels around the time of menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause seem to trigger migraines for some women.
- Sleep schedule disturbances
Not getting enough, or getting too much sleep can aggravate migraines.
- Physical Activity
- Weather fluctuation
Rapidly changing temperature and barometric pressure seems to affect those who suffer from migraines.
Which brings us to…
Why Do Migraines Get Worse in the Summer?
Although the reason that migraines worsen in summer months is still unknown, several theories help to explain why, at least in part. Many patients report worse and more numerous migraines during summer, but others feel that winter is worse, part of the reason that these triggers remain enigmatic.
One factor that could contribute to summer migraines is dehydration, or interestingly, overhydration. Moderation is key when hydrating to counteract the heat, because if you overdo it, you can throw off your electrolyte balance which could provoke headaches. That said, not enough water could result in water and sodium being lost through perspiration. Low levels of sodium in the bloodstream can also become headache provoking for some.
Barometric Pressure Headaches
The changes in temperature and atmospheric pressure that take place during summer could play a role in triggering migraines. A small study found that even a slight decrease in barometric pressure (characteristic of warmer weather) resulted in headaches. The reason for this is that when outside (barometric) pressure lowers, it creates a difference in the pressure of the air outside of your body and the air in your sinuses. This can cause pain, and is also the reason some people feel a mildly painful popping feeling in their ears during a flight.
Another study tracked the sales of headache medication over a period of time, and found that sales spiked when changes in barometric pressure occurred. The researchers determined from these results that the incidence of headaches increases when barometric pressure decreases.
Light Sensitivity and Summer Schedules
Some individuals may also experience an increase in migraines related to increased exposure to bright sunlight, while others change their routines as a result of longer days and trigger migraines that way.
Because of the longer days (at least here in North America) during the summer, many people unconsciously shift their sleeping and/or eating patterns. These changes, though often unintentional, can disrupt the routine your body is used to, and cause migraines (for those who are susceptible) or headaches.
Why Magnesium is the Migraine Solution
Research shows that patients who suffer from migraines are more likely to have low levels of magnesium than those who do not. For that reason, one of the first things that is often recommended for migraineurs is to make sure they have adequate levels of magnesium.
A study by the University of Maryland Medical Centre found that regular magnesium supplementation reduced migraine attacks by 41.6%, and other research has shown that magnesium can help mitigate migraines that are tethered to menstruation. Older research corroborates the hypothesis that magnesium helps to reduce the number of migraine occurrences, as well as, in some cases, the use of stronger allopathic drugs used to deal with migraine symptoms.
Particularly given the side effects of migraine drugs (fatigue, depression, nausea, etc.), it is understandable to seek a natural alternative. Look no further: Magnesium is here to help you through the summer!
We cannot take the place of your naturopath or doctor, so we recommend consulting them before using magnesium to treat any condition.