Oxygen Therapy for Migraine Headaches

Two types of oxygen therapy may offer relief to people who suffer from disabling migraine and cluster headaches.

A review of a number of studies evaluated normobaric oxygen therapy and hyperbaric oxygen therapy in the treatment of migraines and cluster headaches. Normobaric therapy consists of patients inhaling pure oxygen at normal room pressure, and hyperbaric therapy involves patients breathing oxygen at higher pressure in a specially designed chamber.

Three studies reported a significant increase in the proportion of patients who had relief with hyperbaric oxygen compared to sham therapy. For cluster headaches, two studies found that a significantly greater proportion of patients had relief of their headaches after 15 minutes of normobaric therapy compared to sham therapy.

About 6 percent to 7 percent of men and 15 percent to 18 percent of women suffer from severe migraine headaches, and cluster headaches affect about 0.2 percent of the population.

Sources:
Science Blog July 16, 2008
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews July 16, 2008, Issue 3

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