Many factors trigger migraine attacks. Weather is often reported to be one of the most common migraine triggers. However, there is little scientific evidence about the underlying mechanisms and causes. In our pilot study, we used smartphone apps and a web form to collect around 4,700 migraine messages in Germany between June 2011 and February 2012. Taking interdiurnal temperature changes as an indicator for changes in the prevailing meteorological conditions, our analyses were focused on the relationship between temperature changes and the frequency of occurrence of migraine attacks. Linear trends were fitted to the total number of migraine messages with respect to temperature changes. Statistical and systematic errors were estimated. Both increases and decreases in temperature lead to a significant increase in the number of migraine messages. A temperature increase (decrease) of 5 °C resulted in an increase of 19 ± 7 % (24 ± 8 %) in the number of migraine messages.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Initial press release: June 17, 2011 (calendar week 24).
Number of unemployed with regard to the total population. Source: Statistisches Bundesamt (Federal Statistical Office); Figures for 2011. See https://www.destatis.de/EN/FactsFigures/Indicators/LongTermSeries/LabourMarket/lrarb011.html?cms_gtp=150340_list%253D2&https=1
Becker WJ (2010) Weather and migraine: can so many patients be wrong? Cephalalgia 31(4):387–390
Bolay H, Rapoport A (2011) Does low atmospheric pressure independently trigger migraine? Headache 51(9):1426–1430
Fukui PT, Tranquillina Goncales TR, Giunchetti Strabelli C, Fernandez Lucchino NM, Cunha Matos F, Pinto Moreira dos Santos J, Zukerman E, Zukerman-Guendler V, Prieto Mercante J, Rodrigues Masruha M, Sàvio Vieira D, Prieto Peres MF (2008) Trigger factors in migraine patients. Arq Neuropsiquiatr 66(3-A):494–499
Ginsberg J, Mohebbi M, Patel R, Brammer L, Smolinski M, Brilliant L (2009) Detecting influenza epidemics using search engine query data. Nature 457:1012–1014
Hoffmann J, Lo H, Neeb L, Martus P, Reuter U (2011) Weather sensitivity in migraineurs. J Neurol 258:596–602
Kelman L (2007) The triggers or precipitants of acute migraine attack. Cephalalgia 27:394–402
Kimoto K, Aiba S, Takashima R, Suzuki K, Takekawa H, Watanabe Y, Tasumoto M, Hirata K (2011) Influence of barometric pressure in patients with migraine headache. Intern Med 50:1923–1928
Lampos V, De Bie T, Cristianini N (2010) Flu detector - tracking epidemics on twitter, European Conference on Machine Learning and Principles and Practice of Knowledge Discovery in Databases (ECML PKDD). Springer-Verlag Berlin, Heidelberg, pp 599–602
Lipton RB, Stewart WF, Diamond S, Diamond ML, Reed M (2001) Prevalence and burden of migraine in the United States: data from the American Migraine Study II. Headache 42:646–657
Mukamal KJ, Wellenius GA, Suh HH, Mittleman MA (2009) Weather and air pollution as triggers of severe headaches. Neurology 72:922–927
Neut D, Fily A, Cuvellier J-C, Vallée L (2012) The prevalence of triggers in paediatric migraine: a questionnaire study in 102 children and adolescents. J Headache Pain 13:61–65
Obermann M, Katsarava Z (2008) Epidemiology of unilateral headaches. Expert Rev Neurother 8(9):1313–1320
Prince P, Rapoport A, Sheftell F, Tepper S, Bigal M (2004) The effect of weather on headache. Headache 44:596–602
Zebenholzer K, Rudel E, Frantal S, Brannath W, Schmidt K, Wöber-Bingöl C, Wöber C (2010) Migraine and weather: a prospective diary-based analysis. Cephalalgia 31(4):391–400
This work has been supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The Institute of Information Systems (iisys) is supported by the Foundation of Upper Franconia and by the State of Bavaria.
Rights and permissions
About this article
Cite this article
Scheidt, J., Koppe, C., Rill, S. et al. Influence of temperature changes on migraine occurrence in Germany. Int J Biometeorol 57, 649–654 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00484-012-0582-2
- Air temperature