Canada Here's why Calgary can be a tricky place for migraine sufferers
Edmonton area under extreme cold warning, -40 C wind chill expected
All of northern and northeastern Alberta was placed under an extreme cold warning Monday afternoon, following a dip in temperatures across the region. "The snow that fell overnight last night into this morning was associated with a cold front that was pushing through ahead of a dome of cold arctic air, which will sit over the area into tomorrow," Sarah Hoffman, Environment Canada meteorologist, said. Edmonton is set to see a low of -23 C overnight Monday, with wind chill making that feel like -28. Outlying areas around the city could see it drop down to -40, according to Environment Canada.
For many Calgarians, a Chinook arch in the western skies is a welcome sight, because it signals a period of warmer weather. For others, it can be a sign of impending pain.
It hits migraine sufferers the hardest, many of whom cite Chinooks as a potential trigger. Besides debilitating pain, symptoms often include nausea and sensitivity to light. The headaches can be so bad that sufferers are unable to go to work.
“When I moved here to Calgary, within a day I had one, and I had to go to the ER," says migraine sufferer Melissa Bunting.
"The doctor who treated me [said] ‘you moved to quite possibly the worst place you can live for migraines.’”
Worker hospitalized after de-icing machine malfunction at Calgary airport
EMS said paramedics took one man to hospital with serious, non-life-threatening injuries and that he was in stable condition. Global News has reached out the Calgary Airport Authority for more information on the incident.
During particularly intense Chinook events, it is not uncommon to see a surge in emergency room visits in Calgary.
Many sufferers claim their worst migraines didn't begin until they moved to Chinook country.
“When I moved to Calgary is when I started having migraines that were weather-related," says Bertha Kizito.
"At my workplace, I realized that a lot of people weren't coming in and they were sick when the weather changed and I was kind of in that.”
Dr. Werner Becker, a professor emeritus, at the department of clinical neurosciences at the University of Calgary says there are two dominant groups of migraine sufferers who are sensitive to Chinooks.
“About half of those patients that were sensitive seemed to be sensitive to the pre-Chinook day, presumably when barometric pressure is falling," Dr. Becker says.
Man critically injured after falling from moving limousine in downtown Calgary
Police say a man fell from a moving limousine on 11 Avenue S.W. near 12 Street S.W. in the Beltline area Sunday night.Police were called around 7:30 p.m. to the 1200 block of 11 Avenue S.W., for reports of a man suffering serious injuries.
The triggers for Chinook migraines aren't widely understood. Image credit:
"And, the other half seem sensitive to the Chinook day itself. So it does seem that Chinooks can trigger migraines in two different ways.”
The exact weather phenomena responsible for triggering migraines are unknown, but for pre-Chinook sufferers, it could be due to a rapid decline in barometric pressure or the elevated levels of pollutants associated with a strong low-level inversion.
Once the Chinook begins to blow, the sudden change in temperatures, wind velocity, or an increase in positive ions in the air could trigger the second group.
Conducting controlled research to pinpoint the exact cause is difficult given that no two Chinooks are the same and sufferers may have several additional migraine triggers.
“Most people can identify about six or more migraine triggers; anything from a lot of stress, to being short on sleep, to certain foods, to weather changes," Dr. Becker says.
"The thing with migraine triggers is they often need to add up to trigger an attack.”
Being aware of personal triggers may help prevent attacks. When a Chinook is in the forecast, patients can plan by limiting exposure to other triggers and taking prescribed medications in advance, if possible.
“If you're suffering from migraines, don't just suffer in silence," advises Calgary physician Dr. Raj Bhardwaj.
"Talk to your doctor about that. There a lot of good medications that we can use to treat migraines and sometimes even prevent them if they're happening that frequently.”
Laurie Blouin collects slopestyle skiing gold on home soil in Calgary .
Canadian freestyle skier Laurie Blouin, coming off a silver-medal performance two weeks ago, won a slopestyle skiing World Cup competition in Calgary on Sunday. The native of Stoneham-et-Tewkesbury, Que., scored 79.56 points on the second of her two runs at Canada Olympic Park to defeat Silje Norendal of the Netherlands (75.68) and Great Britain's Katie Omerod (68.71).Blouin, 23, captured her first World Cup podium of 2020 on Feb. 1, with slopestyle silver at Mammoth Mountain in California.
What weather conditions trigger migraine ?
Migraine is an one sided, throbbing headache with many environmental triggers. A wide range of factors from food to hormonal changes can trigger migraines.
MIGRAINE HEADACHES RESOLVED WITH UPPER CERVICAL CHIROPRACTIC IN CALGARY, AB.
Melanie came to our office seeking help for her migraine headaches. She would have headaches every other week or every week which would last up to 3 days.