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Migraine and CPAP headaches

Has anyone else experienced this? I have been a migraine survivor since I was four... we're talking 40 years now. Over the past five years they've suddenly become much more frequent and intense. I've been through all the usual testing and such... no connection to hormones, lifestyle or anything... all pretty random triggers which I know doesn't help.

So about a month and a half ago I was diagnosed with OSA. I don't actually experience apnic periods but rather hypopnic periods; meaning I don't stop breathing. My breathing just becomes really shallow. I was experiencing like 38 episodes per hour, so my doc put me on a CPAP. Great! So new headgear... Something I can't even use when I have a flare. Ok.

Fast forward to about a week ago... I'm noticing that my usual headaches (yep - I suffer daily headaches and just have to play it by ear as to whether or not it's a full blown flare) are worse than usual. Like I'm used to dealing with a typical headache of 5-ish on a daily. However, lately they've been about a 7. Consistently. The only thing different in my life as a whole is that I'm using this CPAP now.

I use the warm humidifier on it. The pressure is low, so no sinus concerns. Yet I'm still having a really weird increase in my daily headache headaches, for lack of a better term. Anyone else experience this or know anything about this? ANY input would be helpful!

  1. Hi ChristiZelaya,

    Thank you for your question and being part of our discussion forum - we're glad you're here!

    I would think it take a bit of time to adjust to a new CPAP mask. I would give it some time. If you still have issues, you may want to investigate other mask options. I know there are new, smaller ones out there that may work better for you. Here is an article from one of our contributors who also as OSA;

    You mentioned your triggers are not hormonal or associated with your lifestyle, may I address this? If you haven't kept a detailed migraine diary recently, I would encourage you to do so. This will help you discover any patterns your attacks have and identify triggers, as triggers and patterns can change over time. The thing about keeping a diary is you have to do it for three months or more before these things reveal themselves. I'm in the process of doing this now, as I started Botox in August. I use pen and paper, nothing fancy, but there are many apps out there you may want to investigate. I was hesitant at first but figured I had nothing to lose! Take a look at this article when you get a chance;

    I'd like to touch on a topic that no one wants to discuss if I may - rebound headache, now called medication overuse headache or moh. A number of migraine/headache experts I've spoken with have said up to 80% of their patients have moh. By any chance do you take something on a daily or near daily basis to help relieve the head pain? If we take migraine medications and/or pain relievers, whether they are over-the-counter or prescription, more than two to three days a week, we can create medication overuse headache or moh. The problem with being in an moh cycle is our migraine attacks may be more difficult to treat and we'll have daily, endless head pain until we break the cycle. Many other things can create moh for certain people including caffeine. In fact I was getting myself back into moh by drinking 2 cups of coffee each morning. I can have one cup a day and be fine, more than that and I'll end up in an moh cycle. Does that make sense? Let me share this article about moh with you;

    I hope that information is helpful, please let me know.

    1. Thanku so much for sharing this important information.i would like to know more about the headache.what are the symptoms occurred in the migraine.thanks for sharing this topic.

      1. Hi yogacourses,

        Thank you for your kind words. You can read more about migraine symptoms in this link;


        1. I had headaches every night for over 10 years before I started on a CPAP and after about a year finally got the settings right - enough pressure- to make the difference I needed. (My fault- I just don't like to go to doctors.) I also started on oxygen. I so wish I had gotten the right kind of help way back then but so thankful I finally did. It also took a while to get introduced to the right mask. I have one now that has the hose at the top of my head instead of in front of my face resulting in less bulk in front of me so I am comfortable on my side. Good luck. Keep trying different things until you get the help you need.

          1. I'm so happy to hear that you've found a solution to your headaches at night, . It's clear from your post that you have tried a variety of different approaches, which I sincerely commend. It's not always easy to continue trying new things until we start to feel some relief.

            I was also curious, do you specifically get cluster headaches? We have a great article outlining how to best used oxygen for these types of episodes. I hope that it's helpful:

            Warmly, - Cody (Team Member)

          2. Thank you for sharing your update with us. We've heard from many with sleep disorders who benefit from a CPAP. Once the CPAP is all set, many see a reduction in migraine attack frequency and severity.
            Oxygen has shown to be beneficial for some with migraine and we have an article here I'd like to share with you;
            Please let me know what you think and I'm sending you pain free wishes, Nancy Harris Bonk, Patient Leader/Moderator Team Member

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