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Air hunger, anyone?


This might sound weird but doea anyone else get air hunger with their mav? It feels like you aren’t satisfied with a breath, like you aren’t getting enough oxygen, yet you don’t actually gasp for air or deep breathe because your breathing is normal. It just feels like you aren’t. I get it when my dizziness ia very bad. It feela lile gravity is so strong its an effort to inhale, as if the air is heavy and my bosy doesn’t want to inhale when i’m plunging downwards. I take occasional deeper inhalations as if i’m not getting enough air. Like i saod, my breathing itself remains normal, i’m not gasping for air. Its just really really weird and uncomfortable and directly linked to the severity of dizziness. It’s not anxiety because i’m perfectly calm. I used the search function on and found quite a few people saying they have the exact same thing during a migraine, particularly if they were dizzy. One person said its due to the dysautonomia we experience during a migraine.

Has anyone here had this symptom?


Air gulping and yawning are common migraine symptoms.


Yes, I do! I wondered if it was just me. Seems to be worse when it’s time to go to bed for me. I even start feeling a little panicked some times.


Thanks for sharing that, it’s reassuring. Do you know what causes it?


I find I have it when I’m in a regression period and all the symptoms are flared, like now. I had it a lot when all of this first came on as well

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I don’t. Migraine is a disturbance in the central nervous system. It affects lots of autonomic functions. I will say some people report feeling better on oxygen therapy. I haven’t read any studies that suggest why that is.

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Sorry you’re not feeling well. :frowning:

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I tend to really notice it when my symptoms are really bad but when they subside to a more moderate level it’s barely noticeable.

@flutters thank you. I’m having a really bad time at the moment, the severity has cranked up tenfold for no identifiable reason. Haven’t felt this bad for over 12 months. Been having head pressure like my head is going to explode, heaviness in my face around eye sockets and sinuses, nerve buzzing in my face and limbs, temperature fluctuations, so tired i can’t keep my eyes open. And i don’t even know why it’s got this bad over the past week or so. I hate this garbage.

It’s interesting that you said some people feel better on oxygen. There was a study that said some migraine patients were being treated with asthma inhalers and were doing well, because there’s a theory that migraines could be brain inflammation. But asthma inhalers are common migraine triggers so i dunno how that would work.


I don’t either. I’ve often wished we could be treated with an inhaler.

I’m having a hard run of it lately, too. Not so bad that I’m starting to catastrophize, but definitely way closer to baseline than I’ve been in a while. I’m starting to think about going up on effexor, or more likely, adding a second med. I’m waiting to see if my month long super cold (the PNW brews them strong) is at fault. I don’t know anyone who’s had this thing that’s walked away without continuing to cough and feel dizziness and fatigue for weeks or months after the fact. I’m waiting, I guess, until summer before I decide to act.


Yes! this was one of my worst complaints (well there were a lot) over the last two years. It slowly fades over time as you get better.

I actually can remember this happening a bit when I became motion sick in the past. The chest feels like it collapses in on itself. So, I think it’s just a strange nervous system reaction to an improper balance system. It gets a lot better when I exercise. It also gets better as my migraines are less and less. Verapamil made it much worse for me. I think the buteyko breathing method can bring a bit of relief, but you have to be careful practicing it because it can worsen migraines. The main idea behind buteyko is to breathe slower and use less air overall. It is counterintuitive to the way you feel (like you need more oxygen). Buteyko has a good track record for helping asthmatics.

I’m so sorry you have this feeling, but I’m actually glad to hear someone else has this.:grin:


I used tp get a similar feeling while motion sick. When the car turned corners I would feel my diagram sucked downwards and would hold my breath. Weird.

I used tp keep quiet about alot of my symptoms because doctors don’t understands what causes them and i would then freak put wprrying. O used to think it’s just me. But since the mav diagnosis i’ve found loads pf people with similar symptoms ap its good to not feel like a freak.

@flutters o hope you feel better soon, viruses always make my mav really bad.

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Thank you

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Yes I do occasionally - air hunger and yawning that just won’t stop. You mention it’s not anxiety because you’re perfectly calm, but one can be calm and still suffer from the symptoms of anxiety… that is to say, they’re being expressed in the way of air hunger. Not being able to take in enough air is a distinctive symptom of anxiety that many sufferers feel. There is a massive overlap between MAV and anxiety and I would challenge anyone to tell me they’ve had their world turn upside down or had a drop attack or had their first visual aura and not felt anxious about it.


Does blind terror count? Even the most sanguine of us aren’t immune to a good freak out and ongoing anxiety.

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