Are you a human barometer? Have you ever wondered why you have a unique talent for knowing when a storm is coming? Do your joints ache when it’s cold and rainy outside? You may be a human barometer.
Barometric pressure is the effect of air on the environment. Think of this as a heavy blanket exerting downward pressure on everything when the barometric pressure is low, or dropping. We like to say that a cold, rainy day is “good sleeping weather”, to just stay in bed and hibernate. It is true that lower barometric pressure causes us to seek sleep mode. Strangely enough, as the barometric pressure drops, the air we breathe drops the level of Oxygen, so less O2 in our blood and going to the brain makes us feel sleepy. The pressure on our bodies causes fluid in the joints and blood vessels to expand. Remember back to elementary school that hot air rises, cold air is denser and pressure gradients always shift from high to low in order to create balance. This is why we have so many aches and pains when the barometric pressure is dropping. Any old injury you have may express itself with a vengeance, particularly if you have arthritis or have had surgery to a joint. Everything inside expands.
On the other end of the spectrum from achy joints is the awful storm approaching migraine. If you’ve ever noticed when weather patterns collide and create massive thunder storms or possible tornado activity, the human barometer can sense that rapid drop in pressure. There is some speculation that the electrical charge in the air is what effects the body’s chemistry. Other weather related activity that can spark a migraine or pressure headache include: changes in temperature, high humidity, high winds, extremely dry conditions (causing dehydration), sun glare.
What can be done about this? The primary goal of the nervous system is to adapt to the environment, both inside the body and outside pressures on the body. It is perfectly okay to crawl back in to bed on those cold and rainy days when you are able to do so. For the migraine sufferer, you may need some extra assistance to help you adapt. Getting a regular chiropractic adjustment helps the nervous system function at it’s optimal level so that these swings in pressure don’t effect us as dramatically. The sooner you can come in at the onset of a migraine, the better chance of stopping or at least significantly reducing your symptoms.
Here are some of my “go to” relief remedies I have in my tool box:
Migra-Eeze – This came highly recommended from my neurologist to take as a preventive measure. I can attest that this works very well when taken on a daily basis and it significantly reduced the severity of my migraines.
Intensity 10 TENS unit – using a TENS unit on those muscles that are in spasm is an excellent way to relieve pain associated with migraines and barometric pressure changes. Dr. Seebacher can help you find the right fit for you, as well as ordering the TENS unit with insurance approval.
Migracap – I will admit that I have not used this yet. In the midst of a migraine, cold temperature works best due to the rapid expansion of blood vessels. This cap covers the eyes and provides that extra comforting pressure when you feel like your head is about to explode.
Hydrate – A good rule of thumb is to drink 1 oz of water for every 2 pounds of body weight. As an example, if you weigh 180 pounds, you need 90 oz of water daily. You’ll need more if you’re physically active. When the environment is dry and drought conditions persist, the human body needs more water. You can add a pinch of salt to the water to provide extra minerals and to retain some of the water needed by your body. I prefer Pink Himalayan Salt as it has more mineral content to help balance the electrolytes in your body.
Epsom Salt Bath – You can find epsom salts at any grocery store. I recommend to my Fibromyalgia patients the Fibro Detox Bath: 1 package (2-3pounds) of epsom salt in the hottest water you can safely handle; add 1 box of Baking Soda (8oz), 1 tbs of ground ginger. Warning, ginger makes this a stimulating bath, but it reduces pain significantly. Soak as long as you possibly can. For relaxation, try adding lavender essential oil or any soothing blend to replace the ginger.
Chiropractic + Therapeutic Massage: Chiropractic adjustments are designed to help the nervous system restore balance in the body. Therapeutic Massage helps to release trigger points so that your body does not hold patterns of spasm. Combining the two together gives you the best of both worlds. Keep in mind, neither one is intended to be a one time cure-all. It took a long time for your body to build up the stress and toxic environment that is created by barometric sensitivities. Dr. Seebacher provides the chiropractic adjustment and the therapeutic massage all in one visit. Click here to schedule your chiro+massage appointment.