Headache and Barometric Pressure: a Narrative Review

AbstractPurpose of ReviewAlterations in atmospheric pressure have been long associated with headaches. The purpose of this review article is to investigate the association of barometric pressure with headache, classifying into two broad categories primary headache disorders (barometric pressure triggering migraine or tension-type headache) and secondary headache disorders (barometric pressure triggering high-altitude headache and headache attributed to airplane travel), discussing the pathophysiology and possible treatments.Recent FindingsMultiple studies have been performed with inconsistent results regarding the directionality of the association between atmospheric pressure changes and triggering of primary headache disorders, chiefly headaches. Atmospheric pressure is also a trigger of two secondary headache disorders, i.e., high-altitude headache and headache attributed to airplane travel. Hypothesized mechanisms include excitation of neurons in trigeminal nucleus, central and peripheral vasoconstriction, barotrauma, and hypoxia. There are no randomized clinical trials regarding effective acute or preventive treatments.SummaryGreater understanding of pathophysiology may enable both acute and preventive treatments for headaches triggered by changes in barometric pressure. Further studies on the subject are needed.
Source: Current Pain and Headache Reports - Category: Neurology Source Type: research

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