The People's Perspective on Medicine

Snoring Treatment Stopped Migraines

Q. I suffered from migraine headaches for many years, with the only relief being very strong medications. I learned to live with them, predict them and their severity and treat them without drugs if they were caught early enough.

Then I had a sleep study done. I was diagnosed with severe apnea and supplied with a CPAP. I questioned the doctor at length when he almost guaranteed me that my headaches would lessen in frequency. He said that I was suffering from oxygen deprivation.

I have used the CPAP every night since then (12 years), and my need for migraine meds dropped 80 to 90 percent. CPAP saved my life.

A. CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) is a device used to treat snoring and other problems related to sleep apnea (intermittent failure to breathe during sleep). A recent study has found that sleep apnea resulting in low oxygen levels is associated with a greater likelihood of cognitive decline and even dementia in elderly women (JAMA, Aug. 10, 2011).

We are delighted to hear that addressing your sleep apnea has had such a dramatic effect on your migraines. We discuss other approaches to overcoming such problems in our Guide to Headaches & Migraines.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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I frequently wake up with frontal headaches. They feel like a sinus headache. After I’ve been up for a short time, they disappear. If I sleep with something on my forehead (like a small towel) then I don’t get the headache.
An EENT Dr. told me that it was an autonomic reaction. Do you think there is any relationship to sleep apnea? I’d sure like to not have to cover my forehead every night. I understand there are now nasal inserts that work for apnea also.

I was having horrible headaches and migraine headaches (even after using at night the CPAP) until I stopped using or taking SPLENDA in my coffee. AS soon I stop taking it, the headaches disappeared.

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