The study was carried out out in the Department of Neurology, Faculty of Medicine, Trakya University, Edirne, and Department of Neurology, Faculty of Medicine, Firat University, Elazig, Turkey
Light sensitivity, nausea, visual impairment or aura, and other symptoms are frequently associated with migraines, a neurological disorder beyond just headaches. Sunlight is frequently mentioned as a migraine trigger, so if it gives you a headache, you are not alone.
In patients with migraine headaches, bright light is a common cause among the triggering factors. Researchers conducted a study on the effect of sunlight on headaches, specifically migraines, in their report tagged “Migraine Headache Triggered Specifically by Sunlight.”
According to a recent analysis, bright light, including sunlight, can cause migraines in as many as 67% of sufferers. Even more than nutrition or hormonal changes, light has been identified by some scientists as a major factor. Additionally, studies have shown that for those susceptible, only 5 to 10 minutes of exposure to the sun can trigger a headache or migraine episode.
” We reviewed the data of 2,957 patients with headache admitted to Firat University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Neurology, Headache Clinic between January 2001 and June 2011.”
Between January 2001 and June 2011, 2,957 patients with headaches were admitted to the headache clinic at Firat University’s Faculty of Medicine. Using the addresses listed in their records, twenty patients who reported headaches after sun exposure were identified and invited to the neurology clinic. By asking patients about their headache features during interviews, a more thorough medical history was obtained.
Four individuals were not included in the study because we were unable to differentiate between migraine and other headaches in them.
Based on the International Headache Society’s criteria, the diagnosis of migraine in the remaining 16 individuals was verified. Physical and neurological evaluations, standard blood and urine tests, and cranial computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging scans were all within normal ranges for all of the patients. None had a history of drug abuse, alcoholism, or smoking. Each patient gave their written agreement prior to the study beginning, and the trial was given the go-ahead by the local ethics commission.
The average age was 34.4 years, and there were 9 women and 7 males (range: 16-63). The average age at which headaches started was 26.1 years (range: 14-47). 8.3 years on average were spent with the illness (range: 2-30). The other two patients displayed migraine symptoms with aura, while the other fourteen displayed symptoms without aura. According to all patients, headaches begin lightly and worsen over time. Seasonal differences in headache onset after exposure to sunlight. Summertime took 5-10 minutes, but wintertime took 60 minutes.
During the summer, when sunlight is more potent and bright, patients reported experiencing more severe and frequent attacks.
Nitric oxide, 5-hydroxy-tryptamine, and calcitonin gene-related peptides may also play significant roles in various aspects of migraine development, according to strong evidence. Nitric oxide and calcitonin gene-related peptides are released differently by intraepidermal sensory nerve fibers in the skin when exposed to ultraviolet radiation from sunlight. This disorder may contribute to the attacks by vasodilating the blood vessels.
The temperature may also be thought of as a trigger in addition to sunshine brightness.
As might be expected, summertime temperatures are greater than wintertime ones, and the sun is brighter. A migraine attack may result from cutaneous thermoreceptors being stimulated by higher temperatures. However, when exposed to heat from other sources, patients never experienced headaches (e.g., having a bath with hot water, working in hot places like a bakery, or entering a hot room on a cold day).
Therefore, scientists believe that while the heat from the sun has no effect on migraine headaches, the sun’s bright light and intensity may impact some people. Some patients found relief from their headaches by staying away from sunny locations, especially in the summer (like going on a picnic or vacation at the beach, walking outside, and swimming). The patients’ social life is partially restricted by this illness. Several other patients opted to wear hats when they were in sunny environments.
According to the patients, putting on a hat helped to fend off the onslaught. Some people may find it helpful to prevent migraine attacks by donning a cap or a helmet. Some patients noted that they feel more at ease and postpone headaches by donning sunglasses on sunny days. However, they noted that if exposure to sunshine lasts longer, the likelihood of getting a headache rises. Sunglasses were not the ideal option because of this. Some of our patients’ headaches appeared to be best prevented by avoiding sunshine and getting a little rest. Taking an analgesic without sleeping was frequently insufficient to reduce pain.
The primary feature that sets these cases apart from those of typical migraine sufferers is that the headaches never developed as a result of any stimulus other than intense sunlight. Sunlight exposure was the sole known trigger in this particular patient population. This could have some effects on how migraine sufferers are treated and how episodes are avoided. Therefore, experts advise that individuals with headaches should also be questioned about other disorders. There might be a unique subset of migraine sufferers for whom exposure to sunlight is the only trigger.
Researchers believe that future clinical studies that are more thorough will provide answers to the question of whether or not these kinds of cases represent a type of migraine.