HBOT has not been proven effective in preventing or reducing the frequency
of migraine attacks. According to a 2012 review by the American Academy of Neurology and the American Headache Society,
“Data are conflicting or inadequate to support or refute…use of hyperbaric oxygen for migraine
[ Neurology, 2012 ]
In a few small studies hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) appeared to relieve headache pain and terminate migraine attacks while
they are in progress, but a systematic review of the published trials found the available evidence to be inconclusive.
[ Cochrane, 2009 ]
An updated review published in 2015 found no evidence that HBOT can prevent further occurence of migraine or cluster headache.
The reviewers also assessed the evidence that HBOT can relieve migraine headache pain as being of “low quality”.
[ Cochrane, 2015 ]
Clinicians feel the difficulty of gaining timely access to a hyperbaric chamber and the cost of a hyperbaric treatment limits the
practicality of this therapeutic approach.
More research into the potential analgesic effect of hyperbaric oxygen may establish the effectiveness of HBOT
in relieving migraine attacks. A basis for further investigation may come from
other studies currently underway to evalate the effectiveness of HBOT in treating pain associated with
Perhaps more importantly, the practical problems associated with hyperbaric oxygen treatment of migraine and its
ineffectiveness in preventing migraine attacks mean it will never be a frontline therapy for this condition.