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Shortness of breath and migraine

  • By Lola77

    Hi,
    my name is Lola,
    I am writing from Italy and i’m new to the forum. About a year ago i started to have some breathing problems, which I didn’t immediately associate to migraine. I told my doctor and he run some tests, he had my heart checked…nothing. All fine. Some time after, i noticed that this shortness of breath actually comes only during a migraine attack. I am bit confused since this symptom is not listed anywhere. I was wondering if any of you has a similar experience.
    In general, i have noticed a worsening of the symptoms: my migraine started when i was 14, now i’m 40 and at the beginning it was mild, would last max 24h, while now it always comes rather strong and it lasts full 3 days. I usually get 2-3 attacks every month ( in the past only once a month) and i use triptans but they only work if i take them at the very beginning and I don’t always do, for different reasons….
    Thanks in advance for taking the time to reply and sorry for my spelling mistakes!
    Lola

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  • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

    Hi Lola,

    Welcome to the Migraine.com discussion forum – we’re glad you found us! No worries about spelling!

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. It’s good to hear that you’ve mentioned it to your doctor and everything checked out OK. Shortness of breathe is not a common migraine attack symptom, but as I’ve learned, almost anything is possible!

    Anxiety IS a common symptom during a migraine attack and I wonder if that may be contributing to the shortness of breathe. Some people become extremely anxious during a migraine attack and experience panic attacks. Here is a video discussing panic and migraine; https://migraine.com/video/lets-talk-about-panic-attack/. And this article discusses comorbid anxiety and migraine disease; https://migraine.com/blog/migraine-comorbidities-anxiety/.

    I hope this helps. Will you let me know,
    Nancy

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  • By Lola77

    Thanks for your reply, Nancy! I do suffer from anxiety, not to the point of getting panic attacks but the kind that make you worry about everything, and think of worse case scenarios etc..yea, i’m not as easy going as I would like to be! I keep it under control with yoga and self massage( reflexology) , but you may have a point as during a migraine attack i’m so focused on the migraine itself that I may not recognize the fact that i’m at the same time very anxious…and so it takes over. Yes, it is certainly a possibility. Thanks for your help, and I will keep on reading: this site is great, full of useful information! I have the impression there is much less available about migraine in my language.
    Lola

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  • By lynster

    I get what I call air hunger. It’s not really shortness of breath but like uncomfortable feeling like I’m not getting enough oxygen. I thought it was my dysautonomia but now I’m wondering if migraine or anxiety associated with it as I’m having now and having a mild attack/ or this is end of 4 day one I can’t tell. I’ve got a pulse ox thing that measures sp02 so I often check this when I get this feeling to reassure myself I’m not being starved of oxygen. It mostly helps as usually around 98/99 but occasionally I get odd readings that freak me out but I think those are just anomalies.

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  • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

    Hi lynster,

    It’s not uncommon to have anxiety, a panicky feeling and/or depression with migraine disease. I know my anxiety usually increases before a migraine attack.

    As far as the oxygen readings go, have you had a chance to mention the “odd readings” to your doctor? If not, you may want to at your next visit.

    Nancy

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  • By krisgaertner

    I too have breathing difficulties. But it’s not when I have the headache, it’s during the phase afterward where I’m exhausted. It’s like a pressure feeling too. I’ve been checked out, no heart problem.

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  • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

    Hi krisgaertner,

    Thank you for sharing that with us. It’s good to know you’re not alone!

    Good to hear you’ve discussed this issue with your doctor. Does it occur after every migraine attack?

    Nancy

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