Headache severity and proximity to the equator

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Headache severity and proximity to the equator

Post  Jeff2014 on Mon Jul 21, 2014 2:28 pm

I have suffered from Chronic Daily Headache since 1998, and I discovered that my headaches were much better in Costa Rica. Because of that I have moved down to San JOse, Costa Rica full time. I was wondering if anyone else had any similar experiences? The pain has improved about 80% and I have much more energy since living here. I returned to the U.S. for 6 months only to find that my headaches quickly got much worse and I suffered from a great deal of fatigue. I wonder if I would feel even better being even closer to the equator. I also wondered if it has something to do with the altitude. San Jose is about 1000 meters abouve sea level. What do you guys think? Ciao, Jeff Basketball 

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Re: Headache severity and proximity to the equator

Post  Migrainegirl on Mon Jul 21, 2014 3:08 pm

It could have to do with environmental factors (pollen, pollutants etc...)

I live near the ocean now ( near sea level ) and they are if anything worse than when I was at a higher altitude. I suspect it's weather issues. Not sure about closeness to the equator.
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Re: Headache severity and proximity to the equator

Post  Seaine on Mon Jul 21, 2014 7:40 pm

I would suspect it may have to do with the food that you eat in Costa Rica vs. the US.
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Diet

Post  Jeff2014 on Mon Jul 21, 2014 10:02 pm

I tried a very restrictive diet in the United States and it did not help my headaches at all. I was also on the migraine diet for several months without any impact on my headaches. I have not specifically done anything different to my diet since moving to Costa Rica, but there are probably a few minor differences. It´s hard for me to imagine that it has impacted my headaches to this degree. I lived in Los Angeles for a while and Tallahassee, Florida where my headaches were bad in both places. I may see if there is any research on altitude and headaches.

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Re: Headache severity and proximity to the equator

Post  lorente on Tue Jul 22, 2014 8:43 pm

I find it perfectly plausible that changing your location on the planet could change your migraine pattern. Studies have confirmed the change of seasons as a migraine trigger--a huge trigger, actually, particularly among women, who tend to have more migraines during the change from winter to spring than at any other time of the year. It has to do with the change in the light from season to season, not just the presence of more and brighter light but also the angle of the sunlight hitting you where you are on the planet. Could be the same for you as you move from North America to the equator. Just a thought.

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Re: Headache severity and proximity to the equator

Post  Seaine on Wed Jul 23, 2014 6:25 am

I've lived in NC, NV, OR, and FL within the last 4 years and no change for me unfortunately. Daily migraines wherever I live!
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Re: Headache severity and proximity to the equator

Post  ConcordGrape on Sun Aug 10, 2014 9:11 pm

I've actually spent a good deal of time researching this and I can say with pretty high confidence that YES there is a link between location/geography/weather patterns and migraine.

There are definitely better places to live and worse places to live. lorente mentioned angle of the sun which is something I have never considered before, and will think about now. I have found that fluctuations in barometric pressure and humidity to be the greatest weather factors triggering migraine.

I took some notes from another migraine forum posting on this topic, here they are:
"a perfect location for someone equally affected would be anywhere with a history of less than 15hPa change within any 48 hour period."
(you can look up historical weather data for any place on weather underground, www.wunderground.com)

"Globally, anywhere that's on a coast, with a trade wind, in the tropics seems to work pretty well -- tropical areas tend to be stable in temperature, coastal areas are obviously not going to have altitude issues, and trade winds seem to help because any weather gets moved along immediately"

Specific places listed by people in the forum where they experienced a significant reduction in headaches:
- Arizona
- Hawaii, pacific islands
- Hyderabad, india
- thailand
- Puerto Rico
- Guam
- Ogden, UT
- island of Crete, GREECE
- areas on edges of desert (not north)
- winston-salem, NC
- Homer, Alaska
- Amalfi Coast (Italy)
- South Coast of Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa (subtropical climate)


My personal history also supports these claims. I grew up on the East Coast and have always had terrible migraines, especially in the summer. I moved to Seattle, and the headaches were better, though not resolved. I also lived in Big Sky, Montana and the headaches almost disappeared. I was living at 8,000 ft altitude, in an incredibly dry and stable climate. On the contrary, I spent some time living in Baton Rouge, LA, very near sea level, and because it is consistently humid there, I also saw a reduction in headaches. And so the biggest factor, for me, seems to be quick changes in pressure/humidity.
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Hiiiii Jeff

Post  tomcole on Mon Aug 11, 2014 6:20 am

I think its depends on your food habit and local weather.
I never feel any kind of differences until I start to use Transcranial Magnetic stimulation therapy. Its very good for migraine pain. basically its a headband, Cefaly headband. Very Happy

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Geographic location and Headache Severity

Post  Jeff2014 on Fri Aug 15, 2014 8:02 pm

Great post Concord Grape! Thanks!!!

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Re: Headache severity and proximity to the equator

Post  egk on Sat Aug 16, 2014 4:43 am

vitamin d levels?

MS has a similiar pattern, with distance from the equator affecting prevalence.


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Re: Headache severity and proximity to the equator

Post  Kem10 on Sat Aug 16, 2014 8:21 am

For me at least it is not low vitamin D levels. I take a rather large amount of D3 daily with my doctor's agreement and just had blood levels tested. Mine are very slightly high in vitamin D. Though there may be some difference in the D one gets from softgels and from the sun.
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Re: Headache severity and proximity to the equator

Post  egk on Sat Aug 16, 2014 11:43 am

yes, I think the sun exposure itself has some benefits. Circadian rhythms, perhaps.

Here's a really interesting article about locations and migraines:
migraine-attacks-affected-by-sleep-circadian-rhythms-and-other-factors/b3c7dde712236d2b3efa526e7ed04c75.html

Supposedly getting sunlight on your face early in the morning is a way to keep your circadian rhythms in good shape and also avoiding too much blue light (from electronics) in the evening.

This article discusses a link between "morning larks" and migraine. I've always been a "lark" for sure.
http://www.dana.org/Cerebrum/Default.aspx?id=98202

A similar article but it mentions cluster HA
http://www.neurologyreviews.com/home/article/migraine-attacks-affected-by-sleep-circadian-rhythms-and-other-factors/b3c7dde712236d2b3efa526e7ed04c75.html

I know people talk about allergies getting better after a move and I can imagine a migraneur noticing improvement, but I don't know if I would have thought about a move or change in location as a factor causing migraines to occur or get worse. Interesting to think about.

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Trying New Locations

Post  Jeff2014 on Thu Aug 28, 2014 1:19 pm

I am kind of intrigued by the idea that my health can either improve or stay the same. I may try living in Hawaii that way I can use my education and get the job i wanted. i don't feel like I can in Costa Rica. I will ask my doctor about Vitamin D, Cefaly headband, and sleep apnea next time I talk to him. Thank you to everyone that responded to my post. Jeff:bball:

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Re: Headache severity and proximity to the equator

Post  Migrainegirl on Sat Sep 06, 2014 8:09 am

I realy can't think why it would make any difference being near the equator, but I just spent two weeks in Equador ( actually stood on the equator) and Peru and I felt great! Coincidence? No idea.....
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Peru and Ecuador

Post  Jeff2014 on Mon Sep 08, 2014 9:48 pm

How much better were you MigraineGirl? What cities were you in?

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Re: Headache severity and proximity to the equator

Post  Migrainegirl on Tue Sep 09, 2014 5:28 pm

I was in Equador. A week in the Galapagos with no problems at all. I felt great.
Then 5 days in Peru in Cusco. A few issues due to high altitude, but no migraines.

I'm wondering if the barometric pressure is more stable there.
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Re: Headache severity and proximity to the equator

Post  Seaine on Tue Sep 09, 2014 6:36 pm

From what I understand, atmospheric pressure is the least stable in tropical climates and the most stable at the poles. I've always wondered what that has to do with migraines anyways!
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Re: Headache severity and proximity to the equator

Post  Migrainegirl on Tue Sep 09, 2014 7:43 pm

Well I have definitely found that changes in barometric pressure effect my migraines. And pressure changes in aircraft can as well. But this is a recent development in the past year. Many other people report the same.
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Re: Headache Severity and Proximity to Equator

Post  micheletroyer on Wed Sep 10, 2014 8:55 am

Barometric pressure changes (especially when rapid) and air travel are HUGE triggers for me.  The last time I flew, I had to be hauled off the plane into a waiting ambulance.

Michele
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Re: Headache severity and proximity to the equator

Post  Seaine on Wed Sep 10, 2014 4:11 pm

Yes, airplanes are THE WORST.  One of the few triggers that cause me a migraine resistent to all attempts at treatment.  Even as a child I remember becoming ill and vomiting hours after the plane ride was over.  The more I have ridden planes the better it gets but it is still not good.  One thing that can help me is to almost hyperventilate, to just make myself breath deeply and consistently even though normally I would take shallow breaths.  Perhaps the migraine has something to do with the change of the amount of oxygen in the air as the pressure changes.

It's hard to say if atmospheric pressure in my daily life affects my migraines. They are daily, so not sure if storms make them slightly worse or not. I live in Florida now so there are sometimes daily fast moving storms in the summer and it doesn't seem to do anything different to me. I get a migraine rain, shine, or cloudy.
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Re: Headache severity and proximity to the equator

Post  North62 on Thu Sep 25, 2014 3:59 pm

Hello
I live in Ontario Canada right by Lake Ontario and I suffer daily in the summer, in the winter and fall does bring some relief and spring is about half and half.
With us having the largest Air Force Base in Canada right here we have had the benefit of tracking the weather very carefully and speaking to these experts.
When my husband and I noticed that the humidity (barometric pressure changes) seemed to follow my migraine pattern to a T he decided to phone them and ask if they had ever heard anything, they informed us that the barometric pressure totally has a lot to do with many peoples Migraines.
I am more reliable predicting weather than the weather channel lol .
If you start taking notice of all the migraine sufferers headaches and record the weather details for that date you will be totally shocked.
In the winter also it's the glare off the snow that will get you every time, so be careful to always wake up to dark room and gradually adjust to light.
My husband and I are looking to relocate but sadly there isn't any great places that qualify in Canada and free health care is a must for us.

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