Difficulty getting enough air

Hi all, I’m new here. Have any of you experienced air hunger and the need to take extra breaths when you have migraine? It isn’t yawning- this is more like heavy breathing (not THAT kind) which gives the sensation that my lungs are working harder. I’m fit, my heart is good, and exercise doesn’t seem to impact it. I’m not hyperventilating. It’s an intermittent thing with me—a day or two here and there, then it leaves…My migraines are often hard for me to pin down because I don’t normally have a severe headache. Usually I just feel very washed out and am noise sensitive, dizzy, etc (the list goes on). I’m trying to determine if this is yet another symptom. Would really like to figure it out. Thanks much.


Community Answers
  • Joann
    1 year ago

    Hi. I have the same problem. I sigh a lot which is my way of taking deep breaths in. I feel starved of oxygen sometimes. I just started going to an Upper Cervical Chiropractor (one that works only from between the shoulder blades and up). He measures nerve conductivity (I know it sounds hokey) and adjusts my neck accordingly. Here’s the thing: I was referred to him by my daughter in law. She was having difficulty breathing, lightheadedness, dizziness. Cardiologist said her heart rhythm was perfect. Lung doctor said lungs were fine and clear. Yet, she couldn’t get good breath. She had to carry oxygen everywhere and has a 5 yr old and 2 yr old.She was then referred to the chiropractor by a friend of hers. I swear this is true: One week after 2 treatments, she was breathing WITHOUT HER OXYGEN. No kidding! I was amazed. She just went to Disney with her family, took the oxygen with her just in case, but she did not need it. How cool is that? So, with that said, the chiropractor stated to me I have bad damage to my neck bones (honestly, had 4 car accidents in my lifetime, one in 1966). He said by looking at my bones, the damage has been progressively getting worse for over 50 years (the 1966 event when I fell out of a moving vehicle). My brain stem is being squished on one side and he has to move the bones off of it before I get worse. Currently, I have migraines daily, I fall at least once per month (with bad damage to my knees), and I have neck pain 24/7/365. I go for my second real visit tonight and again on Thursday. I’ve had one adjustment so far. Of course, it will take at least a year for me to be fixed, but he swears he can fix me. I certainly hope so. Maybe the migraines will at least decrease to a tolerable level. All of this said, I’m offering up another option for those people with my symptoms. See a chiropractor who only works on the upper cervical. Do your research. Make sure he/she gets results. I live west of Atlanta so if you’re out my way, I’ll be happy to share info. Be well.

  • Bronach
    1 year ago

    Yes I have but I always think it’s because breathing makes my head pound so I delay breathing for as long as I can. That actually sounds awful but it’s true

  • tgerard127
    1 year ago

    I do have that happen sometimes, though I never thought it might be related to my migraines. I can’t really think of it having happened much since the neurologist put me on my prevention medication (which BTW is metoprolol and I’m down from 4-5 headaches per week to 1-2 per month, I’m mentioning it in case it might work for others).

  • DonnaFA moderator
    1 year ago

    Hi Roseburg, Matt and Tamara! I found some anecdotal information that a neurologist had advised a patient that dyspnea was likely a prodrome symptom, unfortunately, I was unable to substantiate that. But it’s a great question to bring up to your neuro. One of the side effects of Triptans can be shortness of breath/dyspnea. This can be really distressing, and again is something that you should talk to your doctor about. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! – Warmly, Donna (Migraine.com team)

  • mgregory
    1 year ago

    Yes! I too have that issue. It gets kinda freaky at times.

  • Tamara
    1 year ago

    Dude … I just came on to search for that. Mild migraine but I feel so exhausted and slightly short of breathe. Not badly but like it’s taking a lot more effort to breathe. Not the first time this has happened either.

  • roseburg author
    1 year ago

    Thanks for the input– I’m not on meds for my migraines so that’s not the culprit. It’s interesting that there are others who have had this happen.

  • roseburg author
    12 months ago

    Tamara, does it feel like the exhale part of your breathing makes your chest feel heavy? I’m having this with a migraine again today. It’s just weird.

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