Barometric Pressure

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Barometric Pressure

Post  Anna's Mom on Fri Apr 30, 2010 1:34 pm

Some people are affected by barometric pressure more than others. Anna head pain seems to be greatly affected by it. So I wanted to start a thread to share experiences and information.

I found this interesting, though it's not about head pain:

http://www.robsworld.org/barometer.html

The human barometer!

I was digging around on-line to see if I could come up with some numbers. A meteorologist shared this:

High Pressure 30.20 and up
Normal Pressure 29.80 - 30.20
Low Pressure 29.80 and lower

The highest pressure recording in Minnesota was 31.11
The lowest pressure recording in Minnesota was 28.43

I found a site on-line which gives the pressure reading in my little town. Right now it is 29.50, and it is raining.

One day this week we had pressure as high as 30.11. Anna felt better that day than today.

Anna was never bothered by weather or weather changes until she had oral surgery to remove her wisdom teeth in 2003. Prior to that, she had HA's every day, but bad weather nor low pressure/pressure changes didn't make her HA pain worse.

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Re: Barometric Pressure

Post  Anna's Mom on Fri Apr 30, 2010 1:36 pm

Here is a site where you can check your barometric pressure throughout the day:

http://www.wunderground.com/

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Re: Barometric Pressure

Post  HeelerLady on Fri Apr 30, 2010 1:46 pm

Well I know I'm a human barometer. I'm getting to the "please run me over" stage today and there's a massive low just to the west. Ugh...have to go find my meds and glad I ate decent at lunch because I'm betting it's going to be Ensure for dinner. pale

I do wish I knew why I was so sensitive to low pressure...it sucks!

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Re: Barometric Pressure

Post  Brent on Fri Apr 30, 2010 1:58 pm

I am also interested in it's role in migs. That was my only trigger and it turned out to be seriously blocked sinus cavity. But it seems too many mig patients are affected by it and it can't all be sinus related.

Or maybe it is...... directly or indirectly. Maybe someday they will find out pressure changes can affect our neuro-chemical systems in our bodies.

I lean more towards the simple physics of pressure differentials.

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Re: Barometric Pressure

Post  lesherb on Fri Apr 30, 2010 2:27 pm

Rainy weather was always a trigger for me. I think it is the change in barometric pressure more than the actual reading that gets to me, though.

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Re: Barometric Pressure

Post  Anna's Mom on Fri Apr 30, 2010 2:58 pm

A couple mentions of barometric pressure and HA here:

http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=54368

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Re: Barometric Pressure

Post  Anna's Mom on Fri Apr 30, 2010 3:04 pm

And another:

http://health.msn.com/health-topics/pain-management/headaches/slideshow.aspx?cp-documentid=100183764&imageindex=8

"We don't know why..."

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Re: Barometric Pressure

Post  Anna on Fri Apr 30, 2010 3:28 pm

Cheryl, this is a big one for me- probably my major trigger- it's the drop in pressure that ensures I'll have a major migraine. It has nothing to do with my sinuses because the pain originates in the region where almost all my migraines originate- in my right temporal area. If the pressure stays low for a while, then I seem to adapt. Usually. But when it drops I know before I check the barometer or the weather service.

I don't have a barometer that gives a number reading (thanks for that information) - instead I have one of those old fashioned glass things shaped like a teardrop that hangs in a stand with a spout on one side. I partially fill it with water and add a couple of drops of food coloring (to look nice and so you can see where the water level is). Water in the spout that is higher than the water in the chamber indicates low pressure. I always can feel it in my head before I check the barometer. But it's nice to have confirmation. Well, sort of nice. . .
Sad Sad Sad

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Re: Barometric Pressure

Post  Guest on Fri Apr 30, 2010 6:38 pm

we had a warm front move up over the last day....head feels like it's being squeezed, lol.

not pleasant but these pressure changes really are brain ache machines.

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Re: Barometric Pressure

Post  Anna's Mom on Fri Apr 30, 2010 7:14 pm

Anna, I was telling my hubby I wanted one of those from Cabella's--a sporting goods store near us.

I have heard my Anna say a hundred times...the pressure...the pressure.

She tells every doctor we see about her weather triggers, which are some of her worst triggers.

No real answer for it.

Anna used to have a shunt, and we had the programmer for it here at home. Some of the other moms I know told me they adjust their kids' shunt pressures when the weather deteriorated. That was "allowed." But no shunt now for Anna--it was removed.

I never found it helped Anna to change her shunt pressure. But I don't think her shunt was ever really working properly so that such a change would have helped.

I suppose you could experiment with Diamox or Lasix (if you're on Diamox or Lasix), to change your intracranial pressure. Just my musings on intracranial pressure and weather changes--if there's any big link there. The Chiari/IH moms I know seemed to think there was.

I wish doctors could figure it out.

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Re: Barometric Pressure

Post  Brent on Fri Apr 30, 2010 8:48 pm

I have also thought about the fact that our blood has gases in it. O2 and CO2 that do expand when the external pressure drops. We may see it as a liquid, and liquids do not compress. They do expand and contract according to temperature. Most of us have a sensitive compensatory system that quickly adjusts our blood pressure. And maybe some of us don't have an aggressive BP regulator.

What if some of us have less tolerance for blood expansion vs a pressure increase from cardiac and muscular contraction? There is a difference. If the gases in our blood expand then the total volume of blood will also expand.

If you read about the symptoms of decompression sickness (the bends) you will see some interesting parallels with migs. Certainly not as pronounced but very similar.

What if a lower pressure causes micro CO2 or O2 bubbles to form. They would block circulation in smaller capillaries and it would be very obvious first in our brains and nervous system.

http://www.emedicinehealth.com/decompression_syndromes_the_bends/page3_em.htm#The%20Bends%20Symptoms

"Occasionally someone with decompression illness may have symptoms suggesting an inner ear problem, such as a spinning sensation, deafness, ringing in the ears, or vomiting. This group of symptoms is called the "staggers."

This is just my brain musing. I don't claim any of it as fact, just theory. But I really think it would be worth it to have some research done.

So there are two possibilities:

-Blood volume (not pressure) expansion causing neuro-chemical changes in some people.

-Artery occlusive CO2 and O2 bubbles forming from lower pressure. It's fact that nitrogen aggressively behaves that way from rapid pressure decreases.

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Re: Barometric Pressure

Post  Anna's Mom on Sat May 01, 2010 9:32 am

Yes, there has been quite a bit discussion on CSF leak forums I read about blood volume.

Poor understanding of it all--even the best of doctors can't figure it out.

Some of the posters on the CSF leak forums I read are themselves doctors (and other medical professionals) who have CSF leaks. How they ponder it all...

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Re: Barometric Pressure

Post  Brent on Sat May 01, 2010 9:47 am

Even if some migs were a type of decompression sickness it would be challenging to then try to come up with a treatment. I doubt our medical insurance would allow us to have our own hyperbaric chambers at home. But when the barometer starts to rise that is the same thing. It's just not in a controlled structured way that a Hyp chamber equalizes.

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Re: Barometric Pressure

Post  Anna's Mom on Sat May 01, 2010 10:27 am

I think I may have asked you this before on the old forum...I can't remember...but do you think an altitude tent could help at all???

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Re: Barometric Pressure

Post  alli on Sat May 01, 2010 11:15 am

Brent, That is an interesting idea. I agree with you. I am extremely sensitive to barometric changes. I used to think it was just when the pressure lowered but as I've aged it's become more apparent that it is any change, up or down, that affects me. It really sucks. Air pressure is PRESSURE against our bodies, so it will have an effect on all our tissues including our blood gases. Every one is so variable so finding something to help along those lines probably isn't even being researched.

A hyperbaric chamber would be great but wouldn't we have the same problems as soon as we left it? We can't live in one forever as tempting as that may be. I don't know very much about them other than they are used to equalize divers blood gases after being at deep pressure or for oxygen therapy for burns. Maybe they would equalize our pressure slower so that BarP wouldn't be as big a trigger?

I am going through my Spring dizziness period. I feel like I have motion sickness all the time along with a low grade headache when it isn't a full blown migraine. I have to take Dramamine for several weeks every spring. I'm not sure if it is the pressure changes, as they are numerous, or allergies making my inner ear swell or fill. But Dramamine helps.

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Re: Barometric Pressure

Post  Brent on Sat May 01, 2010 11:43 am

I have far more questions then answers about it for sure. And I am not convinced that enough research is being put into it in comparison to the suffering we all deal with. To complicate matters there is research showing that it doesn't according to the "experts". So there is that hurdle to deal with also. We know our triggers and they are very real and legitimate to us.

I think about my two year battle with baro triggers and how much effort it took to have my sinuses re-built. It was right there on my CT's and MRI's but it was still ignored or not noticed.

So when you start talking about baro triggers from non-sinus issues I can only imagine how much more apathy and ignorance we will run into.

But as long as we are thinking about it and discussing it something positive is bound to surface.

In my case I used my home barometer and The Weather Channel's local ten day "Aches and Pains" chart for my area to plan and try to preempt. And the fact that TWC even has that set up means that they have realized how many people are sensitive to it aside from just some mig patients.

In the mean time we have to keep hitting our doctors over the head with it until they realize it needs to be further studied.

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Re: Barometric Pressure

Post  alli on Sat May 01, 2010 12:05 pm

It definitely affects all three of my major pain issues. Migraine, Fibromyalgia and Trigeminal Neuralgia. Cold, low pressure days are really hard. TN flares are horrible. They cause pain all over my face and scalp. Fibro pain in my extremities and back.

I have read that Rheumetologists (sp) are aware that barometer changes affect arthritus and those of us who have broken or severely strained a joint know that cold weather is heralded by achiness in the affected area. My thumb, shoulder and ankle are all harbingers of a nasty day ahead. Luckily those places are only affected by cold, they are good in the heat. But not so with Fibro and TN.

I hope that the "experts" get their heads out of their respective rears and listen to anecdotal evidence instead of only going by what they can measure. There is more to be discovered when you open your eyes than when you keep a hood over your head. Just because you can't measure with an instrument what is happening to us does not mean it isn't happening. I love science and I also know it has limitations if you don't keep yourself open.

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Re: Barometric Pressure

Post  Brent on Sat May 01, 2010 12:26 pm

At least with this and other mig (or other chronic conditions) forum we can compare notes and realize we are not alone. Our docs may poo-poo it but if a group of people have the same triggers then there is something of substance.

And we can go back to our docs and tell them "I am not the only one that has noticed this". That makes it a bit tougher for them to try to cram misinformation down our throats when they know we are now globally networking together.

Working in physical rehab I still remember the two docs I leased space from and worked with completely ignoring fibromyalgia and not acknowledging it as a real condition. But over the years they saw so many patients with the same complaints and started seeing trends. All the while it was being researched and studied. They ended up evolving with it and reading up on the condition.

Now they treat it as a legitimate condition and know how to test for it and who to refer them to for treatment. This happened in about 15 years, not overnight but it did happen.

So my observation is if we keep telling our docs etc. and holding firm that it will be addressed and acknowledged. We just have to be as persistent as the Fibro patients were and still are.

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Re: Barometric Pressure

Post  pen on Sat May 01, 2010 3:38 pm

Ours is showing as 1009. But I don't understand what to compare this with.
This is a area of total ignorance for me....
Is it different in England???

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Re: Barometric Pressure

Post  Brent on Sat May 01, 2010 5:21 pm

Barometers use millibars, millimeters (metric) or inches, most analog ones have both. US ones have millibars and inches. The 1009 on your is millibars. The numerical measurement is secondary to the change. It's the change, usually a drop that fires up the pain.

The easiest and cheapest ones to use are the analogs. They have the readout "hand" like a clock and then a hand that you line up with it. Then after several hours you will notice the reader hand has moved up or down. On digital units you have to either memorize the reading and then come back and add or subtract to find the change or use the memory set button.

The gold knob is the marker hand that you turn to line up with the black reader hand.



I just posted this in case someone didn't know and was hesitant to buy one because. It's something most people are not aware of unless they need to be.

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Re: Barometric Pressure

Post  pen on Sat May 01, 2010 6:09 pm

Thanks for relieving me of my ignorance Brent.
We have one, I assume I set it say tomorrow (well its 1.10 am here, so later today),
and then watch for it to rise or fall.
I could never figure what "normal" was.
As one, whom you know cant find any triggers, I am keen to keep an eye on this.
Cant do anything about it, but at least an explanation.

It is raining cats and dogs here tonight....been a pretty grey day.
I woke with an awful head. All over terrible.
I assume it is after the stress of yesterday with our doggie, but maybe the pressure has a hand in it too....

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Re: Barometric Pressure

Post  Billy Ray on Sat May 01, 2010 7:54 pm

I can tell when there is a change. The BP is my number one trigger. I usally can tell 12 to 18 hours before a storm comes. And when it is really bad my ears will pop. When that happens it usally means I will have a bad one. So I watch the pressure alot. Casio makes a watch that shows and charts the BP. For me it is not that it is high or low but it is when it moves -- up or down. The more it moves the worse it seems to be.

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Re: Barometric Pressure

Post  Brent on Sat May 01, 2010 8:16 pm

And there really isn't any place on earth that does not have a fluctuating BP to escape to. My wife fractured a spinous process bone on her spin. It healed just fine but part of the lump of scar tissue has an encapsulation (pocket). So she can also feel a slight pain when the barometer drops.

It made her a bit more tuned in and understanding to my head situation.

I have seen a couple watches that have digital barometers. That is very cool.

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Re: Barometric Pressure

Post  Anna's Mom on Thu May 20, 2010 3:49 pm

Today I was reading all the comments here:

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-areas-in-the-usa-have-the-fewest-barometric-pressure-changes.htm

Really interesting, the experiences people share.

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Re: Barometric Pressure

Post  riversidekid on Thu Dec 02, 2010 4:56 pm

Anna's Mom wrote:Today I was reading all the comments here:

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-areas-in-the-usa-have-the-fewest-barometric-pressure-changes.htm

Really interesting, the experiences people share.

Cheryl

Cheryl, that link is incredible, thanks for sharing. I return to this site once again seeking advice, but it helps to know that I'm not alone. I am 44, almost 45, and I have had severe migraines since I was about 14. I have always known storm fronts are my #1 trigger, but only this year when I found the 'history' section in wunderground that I was able to show an actual graph of my pain. It's like clockwork, when the pressure is up I am in pain, when the pressure is down I'm fine and when it changes I lay in an interior room with a toilet close at hand so there is no light and a place I can quickly vomit for hours on end.

In January I started the whole Doctor thing again, the first time in the last 30 years I really tried to kill the pain. I started off asking if great strides had been made in the last 30 years. He just looked at me and said, "gee that would be great, but no."

So hats off to all on this post for supporting each other, apparently the medical community isn't on board yet! So far I have one doctor, my PCP telling me that I take way too many pills and my neurologist telling me that I need to take pills at the very onset of pain! I don't think either of them have a clue what I'm going through!

-Stephen

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