Living with migraines is never easy, and those who suffer from them know that finding answers can be a challenge. Having migraines at high altitudes can be an entirely different affliction. When asthmatics and those with respiratory difficulties head to high altitudes, they know that affliction can be compounded. Those with migraines should know: the almighty altitude can also play a devastating role in their headache condition.

Alexis from Denver knows what it’s like to have migraines at high altitudes: “I’m a true Austinite at heart, but my career in finance recently relocated me to Colorado. I used to look forward to alpine weekend escapes – but ever since my move, the burden of my debilitation has come to life.” High altitudes, particularly above 6,000 feet, can trigger migraines for some. “Every time I ascend, I nearly guarantee I’ll have a migraine the next day,” Alexis lamented.

The phenomenon can be attributed to the fact that decreased oxygen supply and lower barometric pressure can cause blood vessels in the brain to dilate and prompt the onset of a migraine. It’s a fact that many people don’t realize – and a fact that many migraine-sufferers in high-elevation areas have painfully come to know.

Are Migraines More Common at High Altitudes?

Higher altitudes aren’t necessarily a cause for more frequent migraines – but they can certainly increase the likelihood. The lower oxygen levels that are characteristic of higher altitudes prompt the body to make adaptations, including the unfortunate expansion of an individual’s blood vessels. It’s this expansion that, in some cases, can lead to migraines.

The Role of Weather in Migraines at High Altitudes

Furthermore, those who suffer from migraines at high altitudes will soon come to realize that they’re not just dealing with a drop in oxygen. Weather patterns in higher altitudes can also be categorized by increased winds, faster variations in temperatures, and erratic sun exposure. All of these can be additional triggers for migraines.

Dealing with Migraines at High Altitudes

Of course, living with severe migraines in high-altitude terrain can be difficult – and sometimes nearly unbearable. But there are some tricks that those in these areas have picked up to manage their condition. Many use medication-based treatments like Beta-blockers and calcium channel blockers that work to address the physiological changes that can lead to migraines at high altitudes.

Other treatments like oxygen therapy or the application of ice packs to the head can also help lessen the impact of a migraine. And those need to remember to stay as hydrated as possible when in higher altitudes – they’ll be far less likely to experience a headache if they remain well-hydrated.

Living in High Altitudes and Managing Migraines

While various medications and treatments can help manage migraines, those living in high-altitude areas need to remember that they ought to focus on just that: managing their condition. This means adjustments need to be made in one’s lifestyle, and taking regular breaks and keeping well-hydrated is of the utmost importance.

Finally, it’s always good to remember that sometimes a person just needs to re-acclimate to the altitude before they can fully adjust to their new life. In other words, those who have experienced migraines at a high altitude should be careful not to panic – it’s just another problem that, with a little knowledge, can be managed.