Cluster migraines brought on by barometric pressure changes?

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  • Full Question:

    My husband suffers from chronic cluster migraines which he is working with a neurologist and has greatly improved over the past year. The issue that I can not seem to help him with is barometric pressure headaches. It seems that now he will have a spell every six months and will have to take a cycle of steroids to stop the pain from the clusters but he can not find any relief with the barometric pressure headaches and I am wondering what options are out there for this type of headache. We monitor the pressure but there seems to be no solution on how to help him when we know there is a change coming about. Sheila.

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    Full Answer:

    Dear Sheila;


    First, we have a question - What diagnosis has your husband's neurologist given him? There are several types of migraine, and there are cluster headaches, and they're quite different. You can find information about different types of migraine and cluster headaches here - Types of Migraines and Headaches.


    Changes in barometric pressure are a common migraine trigger, so we'll answer your question based on a diagnosis of a type of migraine:

    • When patients have three or more migraines a month, it's well worth considering a daily preventive medication. There are over 100 medications and supplements being used for this purpose, so there are many, many options. For more on this, see Migraine preventive medications: too many options to give up! Many migraineurs find that a preventive treatment that works will even reduce the number of migraines they have that are triggered by weather changes.
    • Some migraineurs have had some success taking acetazolamide (brand name Diamox) when a weather change is coming in. One of the conditions this medication is used for is altitude sickness.

    Thank you so much for your question. It's heartening to see a concerned and caring spouse ask such a good question. We hope we've given you some information that will be helpful in working with your husband's doctor.

    Good luck to you both,
    David Watson, MD, and Teri Robert


    About Ask the Clinician:

    Dr. David Watson is a UCNS certified migraine and headache specialists and director of the Headache Center at West Virginia University. Je and Lead Health Guide Teri Robert, team up to answer your questions about headaches and  Migraines. You can read more about Dr. Watson or more about Teri Robert.


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  • We hope you find this general medical and health information useful, but this Q & A is meant to support not replace the professional medical advice you receive from your doctor. For all personal medical and health matters, including decisions about diagnoses, medications and other treatment options, you should always consult your doctor. See full Disclaimer.

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    Last updated August 26, 2014.


Published On: August 26, 2014