ZocdocAnswersCould oxygen help a migraine?

Question

Could 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?

Answer

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.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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