The Link Between Migraine and Fibromyalgia
For decades, researchers have studied the connection between migraines and other illnesses. Often, migraineurs suffer from other chronic conditions such as thyroid issues, stress, etc. But one connection stands out stronger than the rest. Ever heard of fibromyalgia?
The disease is an autoimmune illness that causes musculoskeletal discomfort. In other words, your body hurts– a lot. Fibromyalgia sufferers have trouble sleeping and concentrating. They experience chronic fatigue, and simple tasks like walking become extremely painful.
Doctors are not sure what causes fibromyalgia, but it usually occurs after a traumatic event such as surgery or a physical accident. Genetics and bacterial infections also play a part. Certain conditions go hand-in-hand with the disease:
- IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
- Painful Bladder Syndrome
- Temporomandibular joint disorders (toothaches, jaw pain, swelling, problems with chewing)
- Photophobia (sensitivity to light)
- Allodynia (sensitivity to touch)
Why Does Fibromyalgia Cause Migraines?
People with fibromyalgia suffer from joint/nerve sensitivity. Like migraines, fibromyalgia is a neuro-physiological disorder. Stimuli have a negative effect on fibromyalgia sufferers the same way it does on migraineurs. Sensory overloads send signals to the brain producing migraine attacks.
Over time, the brain’s receptors weaken and become even more sensitive to pain. In fact, according to this article, photophobia is prevalent in 70% of fibromyalgia sufferers. In total, approximately 40% of fibromyalgia patients experience migraines.
The Gender Effect
Women are more likely than men to suffer from fibromyalgia and migraines (of course, right?). Per this article, fibromyalgia plagues approximately 6% of the U.S. population, and 90% of those sufferers are women. Patient ages range from 20 to 50 years old, showing that this disease primarily attacks young and middle-aged people.
What Happens When A Person with Fibromyalgia Has A Migraine Attack?
Photophobia (fear of light) can occur at any time. For many migraineurs, bright flashing lights are a trigger that sends them into intense aura headaches. Allodynia is another painful condition associated with migraineurs and fibromyalgia. With allodynia, light touch causes sensory overload that can turn into a massive headache.
In this blog, researchers explain how something as simple as wearing a hat or glasses may cause a severe case of allodynia. When a fibromyalgia patient has a migraine, they are likely to experience:
- Migraine Aura
Many fibromyalgics suffer from deep depression due to the severe negative effect of the disease on their lives. Simple activities become much harder to do, and migraine triggers show up everywhere. Patients also become very anxious, which, of course, impacts stress levels. These psychological disorders intensify fibromyalgia and migraine pain.
Is There A Cure For Fibromyalgia?
Migraines and fibromyalgia share another similar trait: there is no cure for either condition. Patients must develop on-going coping mechanisms and strategies to deal with the disease, but that doesn’t mean you can’t live a perfectly normal, fulfilling, and fantastic life.
Natural remedies along with lifestyle changes can be very helpful in the fight against migraines and fibromyalgia. It’s important to take the necessary steps to take control of your health and make the right choices when it comes to what you put into your body.
- Neurological Implications of Fibromyalgia
- Migraines and Fibromyalgia
- Fibromyalgia Migraine Illness Evil Twin
- Migraine Treatment Myths Revealed
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- Fibromyalgia Symptoms
- Temporomandibular Disorders
- Fibromyalgia and Migraines