Solar Flares and Migraine Headaches
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You probably already know what solar flares are. Those violent explosions in the Sun’s atmosphere release huge bursts of energy that can match that of millions of hydrogen bombs released in unison. Solar flares heat the Sun’s gas to temperatures of many millions of kelvins. They speed up electrons, protons, and ions to near the speed of light, and produce tremendous electromagnetic radiation.
Sun flares affect geomagnetic fields, but what do they have to do with migraine headaches? Are there such things as solar flares migraine headaches?
It has long been recognized that the earth’s magnetic field affects life on our planet. That magnetic field is not always the same, though. It varies in intensity. Sometimes it is stronger. At other times, it is weaker. These variations are called geomagnetic activity or GMA. A great deal of GMA is influenced by the Sun, especially by solar flares.
Geomagnetic activity is categorized by four levels:
Geomagnetic Activity and Your Health
According to relatively recent studies, changes in geomagnetic activity can affect cardiovascular health. There is reason to believe that GMA, specifically solar flares, can affect other areas of health as well.
Solar Flares and Migraine Headaches
One observation linking GMA and migraines found that more severe migraine headaches are seen at hospitals on days with high levels of GMA. That means that when solar flares influence “active” or “stormy” levels of geomagnetic activity, doctors and nurses can prepare for patients with more serious migraine headaches to present themselves for treatment.
The relationship of solar flares and migraine headaches is strong. It has been shown that there is significant correlation between the two. An interesting study of this correlation is given in the following article: Kuritzky, A., Y. Zoldan, R. Hering, E. Stoupel (1987). “Geomagnetic Activity
and the Severity of the Migraine Attack”, Headache February 1987, pp 87-89.
Stoupel, E., et al. (1989)
Migraine headaches can be triggered by a variety of internal and external stimuli. For some migraineurs, it may be caffeine, chocolate, or red wine. For others, it might be stress or the let-down period that follows on the heels of stress. Many who suffer migraine headaches claim that weather is a major trigger for them. It might be a storm here on earth or solar flares, a storm on the sun. When they keep diaries, their migraine headaches enter the pages according to patterns of weather or solar flares.
Possible but Unproven
While researchers admit that there may well be a connection between solar flares and migraine headaches, the evidence is not yet clear. Of those who do keep migraine headache diaries,
When Dr. Patricia B. Prince and her colleagues of Boston’s Children’s Hospital set out to examine the relationship between headache and weather, they found that patients often believed weather was triggering their migraines headaches. However, when patients kept migraine headache diaries, that was proven in only about 20 percent of cases. Dr. Prince and her team believe that at least some migraineurs, when searching their memories for a likely trigger, may “selectively recall only the attacks that support their prior beliefs.”
This author read a personal account story on the Internet of an individual who was watching television one evening, having not the slightest hint of a migraine headache. The news anchor announced a forecast of intensified solar flares, and warned migraine headaches sufferers that solar flares and migraine headaches come hand in hand.
“Sure enough,” the TV viewer wrote. “Shortly after that, I got a terrible solar flares migraine headache.”
Conclusion of the Matter
Solar flares have been proven to cause disturbances in the human body. There is no doubt of that. Whether or not solar flares cause migraine headaches is yet to be proven, but there is some evidence that they may be triggers for at least some individuals.
The solution for you may be to pay close attention to your own sensitivity to solar flares. Keep a solar flares migraine headaches journal, recording the onset and duration of every headache. Do not keep track of solar flares that may be coming, as this may trigger self-fulfilling expectations of migraine headaches. After a headache is past, go back and check whether or not there were solar flares when it began. If you cannot trust yourself not to look ahead, have someone objective check the information for you.
If you and your doctor pay close attention to your journal, it may help you prevent the onset of solar flare-related migraine headaches.
By Anna Hart