Migraine Hot Spots in the U.S.

by Teri Robert Patient Advocate

There have been quite a few times when people with migraine, particularly those for whom changes in weather are a migraine trigger, have asked for advice on the best place to live. Now, Sperling's Best Places has compiled a list of 110 cities in the United States with the highest prevalence of factors that are most commonly associated with migraine.

The rankings were based on data in four categories that included much more than weather. The categories were:

  1. The number of migraine-specific medication prescriptions per capita (triptans - Imitrex [sumatriptan], Maxalt [rizatriptan], Zomig [zolmitriptan], Amerge [naratriptan], Relpax [eletriptan], Axert [almotriptan], Frova [frovatriptan], Treximet [sumatriptan and naproxen sodium])

  2. Lifestyle factors that can contribute to migraines:

    1. hours worked,

    2. overtime worked,

    3. plane travel,

    4. frequency of vigorous exercise,

    5. frequency of having trouble sleeping, and

    6. frequency of sunburn

  3. Environmental factors that can trigger migraines:

    1. rapidly changing weather,

    2. extreme temperatures,

    3. divorce rate,

    4. commute time,

    5. crime rate, and

    6. suicide rate

  4. Consumption of potential migraine trigger foods:

    1. citrus fruits and juices,

    2. cheese,

    3. chocolate,

    4. pickles,

    5. sour cream,

    6. nuts,

    7. alcohol,

    8. pizza,

    9. coffee,

    10. tea,

    11. cola,

    12. hot dogs,

    13. sausage, and

    14. peanut butter

Here are the top 10 cities with the highest prevalence of factors associated with migraine:

  1. Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN

  2. Madison, WI

  3. Little Rock-North Little Rock, AR

  4. Knoxville, TN

  5. St. Louis, MO-IL

  6. Nashville, TN

  7. Johnson City-Kingsport-Bristol, TN-VA

  8. Chattanooga, TN-GA

  9. Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson, SC

  10. Canton-Massillon, OH

Here are the bottom 10, the cities with the lowest prevalence of factors associated with migraine:

  1. New Haven-Bridgeport-Stamford, CT

  2. Boston-Worcester-Lawrence, CT

  3. McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX

  4. El Paso, TX

  5. New York, NY

  6. Salinas, CA

  7. Miami, FL

  8. Honolulu, HI

  9. Los Angeles, CA

  10. Fresno, CA

To see the entire list of 110 cities, see America's Migraine Hot Spots.

Sperling's was certainly thorough with their choices of data categories. It would be helpful, however, if in addition to their list based on all of the categories, they'd also compiled and published lists on each of the categories separately or had compiled and published two lists - one based on avoidable factors and one based on unavoidable factors. The fourth category, potential food triggers, is one I would have left out entirely since we can work to identify and avoid food triggers.

More Helpful Information:


Sperling's Best Places. "America's Migraine Hot Spots."

Carson, Stephanie. "Tennessee Cities Top List of Migraine 'Hot Spots.'" Public News Service. September 2, 2015.

Live well,

[PurpleRibbonTiny](http://terirobert.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8341ce97953ef0168e9f79915970c-800wi "PurpleRibbonTiny") Teri1

Teri Robert
Meet Our Writer
Teri Robert

Teri Robert is a leading patient educator and advocate and the author of Living Well with Migraine Disease and Headaches. A co-founder of the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy and the American Headache and Migraine Association, she received the National Headache Foundation's Patient Partners Award and a Distinguished Service Award from the American Headache Society.