Lightning linked to onset of headache, migraines

January 24, 2013EARTH - These results, published in the Jan. 24, 2013 online edition of the journal Cephalalgia, are the first tying lightning to headache and could help chronic sufferers more efficiently anticipate headache and migraine arrival and begin preventive treatment immediately. Geoffrey Martin, fourth-year medical student at UC, and his father Vincent Martin, MD, professor in the division of general internal medicine, UC Health physician and headache expert, led the study which showed that there was a 31 percent increased risk of headache and 28 percent increased risk of migraine for chronic headache sufferers on days lighting struck within 25 miles of study participant’s homes. In addition, new-onset headache and migraine increased by 24 percent and 23 percent in participants. “Many studies show conflicting findings on how weather, including elements like barometric pressure and humidity, affect the onset of headaches,” Geoffrey Martin says. “However, this study very clearly shows a correlation between lightning, associated meteorological factors and headaches.” Participants who fulfilled the criteria for International Headache Society-defined migraines were recruited from sites located in Ohio and Missouri and recorded their headache activity in a daily journal for three to six months. During this time, the location where lightning struck within 25 miles of participant’s homes as well as the magnitude and polarity of lightning current was recorded. “We used mathematical models to determine if the lightning itself was the cause of the increased frequency of headaches or whether it could be attributed to other weather factors encountered with thunderstorms,” says Vincent Martin. “Our results found a 19 percent increased risk for headaches on lightning days, even after accounting for these weather factors. This suggests that lightning has its own unique effect on headache.” He says that negatively charged lightning currents were also particularly associated with a higher chance of headache. “There are a number of ways in which lightning might trigger headaches,” he says. “Electromagnetic waves emitted from lightning could trigger headaches. In addition, lightning produces increases in air pollutants like ozone and can cause release of fungal spores that might lead to migraine. This study gives some insight into the tie between headaches or migraines, lightning and other meteorologic factors,” says Geoffrey Martin. “However, the exact mechanisms through which lightning and/or its associated meteorologic factors trigger headache are unknown, although we do have speculations. Ultimately, the effect of weather on headache is complex, and future studies will be needed to define more precisely the role of lightning and thunderstorms on headache. –Science Daily
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9 Responses to Lightning linked to onset of headache, migraines

  1. Dennis E. says:

    To my knowledge, lightning has never caused me to to suffer from headaches and migraines.
    I usually get those from the evening news and cable talk shows.
    Now, as for the change in barometric pressure, I can say I have experienced some discomfort at times, especially from my sinuses.
    just my 2 cents worth…………

  2. sheila says:

    For me it ‘s pre -earth quake..

  3. Irene C says:

    Well, I can’t disagree with this article. Lightening doesn’t bother me, but I always know when storms are coming in because I can feel it in my sinuses and in my joints. Comes from getting old I guess.

    • Gem says:

      I’m really surprised this is only just scientifically logged, I’ve experienced this for as long as I can remember (30+ years)
      I can always tell when a storm is brewing, I get agitated and get an increasing pain in my head and sinuses, the pressure is awful.
      As quick as it comes it disappears when the storm does.
      Guess its something to do with the increased charge in the atmosphere maybe?

  4. Louise Page says:

    Just my non-scientific two-cents worth Dennis E ;)
    My mind doesn’t discount the effects of geomagnetic and geo-electrical ‘energies’ (earthquake/tremor related).
    How many people complain of headaches (pressures), ear aches, tinnitus like ear issues, dizziness etc., pre, during and/or after earth movements? Mother Earth has much more to teach us (as I said in another comment on EP).
    These are ‘things’ we can’t ‘see’, but I believe in what the earth emits too. We need to acknowledge what is below our feet as well as what is observable in the atmosphere.
    Many animals can sense the ‘energies’ I mention above – just like we read about when such naturally attuned creatures are said to act strangely before an earthquake, for example. They probably detect such disturbances – magnified, and before many humans, because of their naturally acute sensitivities…..just a thought.
    Best wishes all ;)

  5. Grandpa says:

    theres a difference between a brain stuffed like a garbage can by someone else and one that flows free like a spring… like one thousand pencils each made out of different wood , secrets in life are taken for granted , only those who take the time to observe will notice the different characteristictics

  6. tonic says:

    I do not get headaches. But for sure when a lightening storm is brewing the atmosphere changes. And a sense of relief occurs, when it finally bursts. For me anyway.

  7. dancindodo says:

    I have in recent years become a sufferer of migrain with aura of the most extreme form including loss of speech and near total paralysis, I have also noticed that I am the only one in my office and family to continually suffer from static “zaps” from furniture, my computer, cars etc. Anyone else noticed this correllation or something similar?… I also tend to get headaches when driving for distance close to power lines running parallell to the road. Coincidence or something to be further explored…..
    ?

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