Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"Could oxygen help a migraine?"

ZocdocAnswersCould oxygen help a migraine?


I'm in my 20s and I have suffered from migraines ever since I was 12. It recently occurred to me that they often start when I'm in traffic or near a busy road. Could it be that I am not getting enough oxygen, and that breathing oxygen would help?


Unfortunately, we have not been able to completely determine the root cause of migraine headaches. Research is still being done, as they really have a detrimental effect on quality of life on those the suffer from them. As of right now, there is no evidence that reduced oxygen would initiate a migraine. In addition, I do not think that you being in traffic or near a busy road would change you body's oxygen levels. Most physicians today feel that migraines can be triggered by various different types of stress, fatigue, food, alcohol, along with many other triggers. The key is to find out what triggers your migraines. It could be that the noise of a busy road, or the stress of being in traffic is contributing to the development of you headaches. If you are experiencing multiple headaches per month, then you may be a candidate for preventative therapy with a tricyclic antidepressant (most often Amitriptyline). You should discuss this with the doctor that you see for your headaches. If you would like a specialist's opinion, then I suggest you schedule an appointment with a neurologist. Finally, I should note (just for clarification), that breathing in extra oxygen is a treatment for cluster headaches, which should not be confused with migraine headaches which are different.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.