How to Reduce Symptoms of Migraines and Headaches during Winter Season
People suffering from headaches and migraines often associate the increase in their symptoms with a change in the weather. Could this possibly be true? What are the changes that trigger the symptoms and what can be done to manage the effects of weather change as related to an increase in the symptoms of headaches and migraines?
Headache and migraine sufferers often find that the change in seasons is one of the reasons their symptoms increase in terms of intensity, frequency, and duration, though most of them say that the frequency is the most common.
If you notice the same change in the symptoms of your headache and migraine with the change of the weather, what can you do about it? Before we discuss the ways to minimize the symptoms, first we have to know the different factors that are affecting people with the change in the seasons.
Focusing on the season that we are entering into, winter, let us see how the particular weather changes during this season actually affect headache and migraine symptoms. During winter there is a reduction of daylight levels. This decrease has been associated with a decrease in levels of the hormone, serotonin. Serotonin is responsible for positively influencing our mood and has positive effects on headaches and migraines by reducing the symptoms. Thus a drop in serotonin levels can amplify the symptoms and increase the incidence and severity of headaches and migraines.
There is not a lot that we can do with the decrease in the daylight levels that we experience during winter and as it arrives there are many things we do subconsciously that can increase your symptoms. Our neck positioning is one of the most important aspects to consider when experiencing headaches and migraines and the leading cause of these conditions. During winter, we tend to protect our most vulnerable areas where the heat is escaping and, as a result, we hung over and protect these areas. This can increase the tension in the neck and shoulders and further compromise our neck positioning, exacerbating the symptoms and incidence of headaches and migraines.
The best thing you can do is to cover up these areas with a scarf, ensuring that there is adequate layer so you are warm enough.
Also during the winter, when many of us would prefer to stay home than go out, we are not as physically active and we don’t tend to do much exercise. We indulge in indoor activities such as sitting on the couch, watching television and doing tasks that involve less movement.
Because our body is not moving, we tend to stiffen up and when this happens, we experience headaches or migraines after getting up from the couch or bed. It is very important that even if you are staying indoors, you perform activities that will get you moving. You don’t necessarily have to run around the house or do strenuous activities just so you can be active.
There are simple things you can do to ensure that your neck or your body does not stay in a single position for too long. Doing simple movements can go a long way in reducing the symptoms of headaches and migraines. These specific ways include doing nice slow and steady neck circles, aiming to find the most comfortable position. Make sure that you are doing regular movements and avoid leaving your neck immobilised in one spot for a long period of time.
If you have to stay home because the weather is not good outside, if it is raining or too cold, it is completely fine just as long as you find a moment to do simple movements such as neck circles or other activities that will get your entire body moving. When you spend hours watching the TV and not doing any movement, you are more likely to experience headaches and migraines.
Another thing affecting us during the colder months is that cold and flu are very common and have negative impacts on headaches and migraines. In fact, even those that don’t usually get headaches often experience them because of cold and flu. It is during winter that the symptoms of headaches and migraines tend to worsen especially when you have a cold or flu. When you cough or blow your nose, your neck tends to tense up and can become stiff and store. It is somewhat similar to a mini whiplash motion where you tend to stiffen up.
When you have a cold, you should focus on moving your neck regularly. This will help keep your neck less stiff and store.
You should practice good hygiene such as washing your hands or taking vitamins to boost your immune system and to prevent catching a cold or flu. Prevention is still better than cure so make sure that before the cold season sets in, you are healthy and that you have the right defense system in place.
The best thing that you can do for your headaches and migraines since we know that the neck is the primary cause of these conditions, is to get it assessed and treated by a professional or someone who is trained in the field.
And if you are suffering from migraines and headaches and want to reduce the symptoms during winter, as well as the frequency and intensity, you should diligently follow the tips above to somehow enjoy the season and your time inside your home.