Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Oxygen Therapy Might Ease Pain Of Migraine, Cluster Headaches

Date:
July 17, 2008
Source:
Center for the Advancement of Health
Summary:
Two types of oxygen therapy could some help for adults who suffer from disabling migraine and cluster headaches. Reviewers concluded that hyperbaric treatment might give some relief for migraine headache and that oxygen therapy at normal room pressure might provide similar relief for cluster headache.

Two types of oxygen therapy could offer some relief to adults who suffer from disabling migraine and cluster headaches, according to a new research review from Australia.

Migraine headaches are severely painful and usually occur with other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and painful sensitivity to light. Cluster headaches cause sharp, burning pain on one side of the head.

Physicians commonly rely on a number of drug therapies to both treat and prevent migraine and cluster headaches, but some also prescribe oxygen therapy. The aim of the systematic review -- comprising nine small studies involving 201 participants -- was to determine whether inhaling oxygen actually helps.

"We wanted to locate and assess any evidence from randomized trials that oxygen administration was a safe and effective treatment for migraine or cluster headaches," said lead reviewer Michael Bennett, of Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine at Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney. "We hoped this would assist physicians to make effective treatment decisions in this area."

The review appears in the current issue of The Cochrane Library, a publication of The Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that evaluates research in all aspects of health care. Systematic reviews draw evidence-based conclusions about medical practice after considering both the content and quality of existing trials on a topic.

The Cochrane reviewers examined studies that evaluated normobaric oxygen therapy and hyperbaric oxygen therapy. 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.

Five studies compared hyperbaric versus sham (placebo) therapy for migraine; two compared hyperbaric versus sham therapy for cluster headache; and two investigated the use of normobaric therapy for cluster headache. Length of treatment varied with each study.

Three studies reported the number of patients who had significant relief from their migraines within 40 to 45 minutes of hyperbaric therapy. Although the studies did not specify each patients' response to treatment, they reported a significant increase in the proportion of patients who had relief with hyperbaric oxygen compared to sham therapy.

For cluster headaches, two studies (69 patients) found a significantly greater proportion of patients had relief of their headaches after 15 minutes of normobaric compared to sham therapy.

The reviewers concluded that hyperbaric treatment might give some relief for migraine headache and that normobaric therapy might provide similar relief for cluster headache, but there is no evidence that these therapies will prevent future attacks.

"We believe that hyperbaric oxygen is also a reasonable measure for migraineurs who have not responded to other measures to treat an acute attack," Bennett said. "However, the poor availability of hyperbaric chambers makes this an option only in a minority of health facilities. Most physicians treating headaches will continue to rely on established and emerging pharmacological options for treating and preventing acute attacks."

Estimates indicate that 6 percent to 7 percent of men and 15 percent to 18 percent of women suffer from severe migraine headaches, and cluster headaches effect about 0.2 percent of the population.

John Kirchner, M.D., of the Kirchner Headache Clinic in Omaha, Neb., has treated thousands of patients suffering from a variety of headaches, including migraine and cluster, and said he does not include oxygen therapy in his patients' treatment plans.

"This [oxygen therapy] would not be practical as the headache comes on fast and does not last long," he said. "So there would not be time to get the patient to the chamber."

Kirchner's treatment for migraine includes avoiding triggers, taking preventive and symptomatic medications and undergoing behavior modification.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Center for the Advancement of Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Bennett MH, et al. Normobaric and hyperbaric oxygen therapy for migraine and cluster headache. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2008, Issue 3

Cite This Page:

Center for the Advancement of Health. "Oxygen Therapy Might Ease Pain Of Migraine, Cluster Headaches." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 July 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080715204841.htm>.
Center for the Advancement of Health. (2008, July 17). Oxygen Therapy Might Ease Pain Of Migraine, Cluster Headaches. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080715204841.htm
Center for the Advancement of Health. "Oxygen Therapy Might Ease Pain Of Migraine, Cluster Headaches." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080715204841.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do Obese Women Have 'Food Learning Impairment'?

Do Obese Women Have 'Food Learning Impairment'?

Newsy (July 18, 2014) Yale researchers tested 135 men and women, and it was only obese women who were deemed to have "impaired associative learning." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Does Mixing Alcohol and Energy Drinks Boost Urge To Drink?

Does Mixing Alcohol and Energy Drinks Boost Urge To Drink?

Newsy (July 18, 2014) A new study suggests that mixing alcohol with energy drinks makes you want to keep the party going. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pot Cooking Class Teaches Responsible Eating

Pot Cooking Class Teaches Responsible Eating

AP (July 18, 2014) Following the nationwide trend of eased restrictions on marijuana use, pot edibles are growing in popularity. One Boston-area cooking class is teaching people how to eat pot responsibly. (July 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins