How To Manage COPD Headaches

Basic wellbeing conditions can cause headaches or cerebral pains. These are called secondary headaches, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a dynamic lung sickness that makes it harder for you to inhale and can cause secondary headaches.

In the event that you have COPD, finding the reason for your headaches and  knowing how to manage headaches is essential because of the potential for life-threatening complications.

Secondary Headaches

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD is a disease of the lung that makes breathing difficult and as a result, can cause secondary headaches. A secondary headache is a headache that is caused by other underlying health conditions—such as a sinus infection or COPD. Treating the underlying symptom often helps with secondary headaches.


If can be tricky to determine if your headache is being caused by COPD or some other condition. Headaches are common and can be caused by many different factors. Headaches caused by COPD may include chest pain, sensitivity to light and sound, wheezing, shortness of breath, rapid breathing, and sometimes a choking feeling when waking up.

How COPD Causes Headaches

As oxygen travels through your lungs and into your bloodstream, you get needed oxygen to sustain your oxygens. Patients with COPD have experienced some damage to their lungs, which makes it difficult for oxygen to work its way through the lungs and to the bloodstream. The results can be very serious when the body does not the oxygen it requires. COPD is linked to another condition—hypoxia. This occurs when your blood doesn’t get enough oxygen and overworks your heart. COPD is also linked with hypercapnia—when you retain too much carbon dioxide in your system.

The headaches caused by COPD are a result of a lack of oxygen to the brain and too much carbon dioxide in your system. COPD headaches are most common in the morning because after sleeping you may have built-up carbon dioxide.


COPD headaches can be treated in a few ways. Since COPD headaches are usually caused by a lack of oxygen, the first step is to increase your oxygen intake with oxygen therapy. Oxygen therapy uses a machine to compress oxygen and deliver it to the user through a nasal tube or face mask. Using a stationary or portable oxygen machine can help you get the oxygen you need to both treat your COPD and your COPD headaches. Increasing your lung function will decrease your secondary headaches. With the adequate amount of oxygen, your headaches will significantly decrease.

Even if you have the proper amount of oxygen, you may still have headaches. For example, if you have trouble sleeping at night, maybe your breathing troubles are interrupting your night’s rest, you will likely experience headaches. Headaches are very common for anyone who is sleep-deprived.

You can also relieve the pain of your COPD headaches with a few simple practices. Breathing exercises may help you get some extra oxygen in your system. Getting more sleep is always a good cure for any headache but avoid sleeping in as this can escalate the problem. Exercising regularly will help your lungs get in better condition. Though COPD is not curable, is it treatable by improving the quality of your lungs. You should also void any COPD triggers, like smoke, dust, or other irritating things that may enter into your lungs.