Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome and migraine: A narrative review

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Objective: In this narrative review, we summarize experimental and clinical evidence demonstrating mechanistic connections between POTS and migraine. Background: Migraine is the most common comorbidity in patients with POTS, a heterogenous disorder of the autonomic nervous system characterized by orthostatic intolerance and positional tachycardia. POTS is a debilitating illness with few effective treatments. We aim for this narrative review to increase awareness of the mechanistic connections between POTS and migraine providing foundational information that optimizes clinical care and advances the development of pathophysiologic-based treatments. Methods: We used the PubMed and Medline databases in November 2021 to perform a literature review and searched for the following keywords: “postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome,” “POTS,” “autonomic nervous system,” AND “migraine,” “headache.”. Results: The high prevalence of migraine in patients with POTS may be explained by common pathologic mechanisms. There is evidence that dysregulation of the sympathetic nervous system, alterations in central and peripheral hemodynamics, and central sensitization increase vulnerability to both POTS and migraine. Non-pharmacologic and pharmacologic treatments that target these shared mechanisms may provide significant benefit for the patient with POTS and migraine. Conclusions: Identification of common affected pathways may provide important insight that advances our understanding and treatment of both migraine and POTS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)792-800
Number of pages9
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2022


  • autonomic nervous system
  • headache
  • sympathetic nervous system


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