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The Pollution and Migraine Connection

If you get frequent headaches, including migraines, air pollution may to be blame, at least for some of them. Researchers in Chile recently reported on the results of a study in Santiago Province, an area surrounded by the Coastal and Andes mountains and therefore topographically susceptible to pollution. The investigators found that hospital admissions for migraines, as well as for cluster, tension and other types of headaches were highest when pollution levels were high. They evaluated air pollution levels (ozone, nitrogen, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide and particulate matter - tiny particles linked to the combustion of gasoline, natural gas and other fossil fuels) at seven monitoring stations between 2001 and 2005. At the same time, they were accumulating data on hospitalizations for headaches. The study showed that headaches were linked to pollution during all seasons of the year, regardless of how old the patients were or whether they were male or female. The study was published in the October 15, 2009, issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology. The researchers noted more study is needed in other locales to confirm their findings.

My take? This is a very interesting study, suggesting an environmental cause for headaches. It could help explain why many patients never identify their headache triggers. If further research confirms these findings, the best defense against some headaches may be exploring ways to avoid pollution and supporting efforts to enact public policies that will result in cleaner air.

Here's more information from my Q&A Library: Migraine Misery? and An Anti-Migraine Diet?

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Reader Comments (3)

I get them reliably fron the presence of heavy incense, so this matches my experience.

February 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJosh Fisher

Air is the most important element of human environment. Man can't live a single moments without air. But we don't think that it is we who pollute this most vital element. Clean air is essential for life. Air is polluted in many ways. Smoke pollutes air. Man makes fires to cook his food.To make bricks burns refuse, melts pitch for road construction and burns wood. All these things produce heavy smoke and this smoke pollutes air. Railway engines, power houses, mills and factories use coal and oil. buses, tucks and cars use petrol and diesel oil. Again all these things create smoke and cause air pollution. The most serious air pollution occurs in big industrial areas where there are many mills and factories. serious air pollution also occurs in big cities where there are many buses, trucks and cars plying the street everyday. Sometimes men in big industrial area become so sick by inhaling polluted air that they cannot be cued. So proper measures and steps should be taken to prevent air pollution.

February 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChiropractic Marketing

I can't step foot into a store or office building that recirculates the air or I have a breakthrough migraine for 3-4 days. That means I can’t go into Target, the grocery store, the bank… even work gives me at least a mild migraine most of the time. New carpet, perfume, household cleaners, car fumes… it’s all bad air for me, combine that with 8+ million people in Los Angeles and I’m in heaven. Ugh!

July 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSunshinegirrl

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