Fibromyalgia and migraines have a correlation. It is not understood why fibromyalgia causes migraines to form or why migraines may cause fibromyalgia. However, there is a theory that both conditions are linked to the levels of the hormone serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical in the body that is necessary for communication between nerve cells. Low serotonin levels can cause blood vessels surrounding your brain to dilate. The dilation of these vessels can cause the throbbing pain felt in a migraine. People with fibromyalgia often have low serotonin levels as well. What happens when you experience a migraine along side fibromyalgia!?
In 2015, a study was conducted on the frequency of migraine headaches in patients with fibromyalgia. A total of 1730 people were surveyed. The results concluded that migraines are very common among people with fibromyalgia. Doctors and healthcare providers should be aware of the two overlapping conditions. Individuals who have both conditions are more likely to see an increase in cumulative health problems. My question is, do doctors know migraines and fibromyalgia often coexist? Most doctors only include unexplained pain in their diagnosis.
You can read more about this study here.
“Over 30 percent of people with migraine also have fibromyalgia, according to a study published in Clinical Rheumatology, and the frequency of migraine in people with fibromyalgia is 55.8 percent”https://www.everydayhealth.com/migraine/what-you-need-to-know-about-migraine-and-fibromyalgia/
In 2018, another study on migraines and fibromyalgia revealed several factors. Fibromyalgia can increase the intensity of migraines. Individuals without fibromyalgia, might feel migraine pain levels at moderate ( but can be severe) , while people with fibromyalgia might have severe pain. The intensity of these migraines can be extremely debilitating and disabling. People with both conditions experience a higher headache intensity and disability. The study also reported that people who have both conditions will also have higher depressive symptoms. I personally can see the higher rate of depressive symptoms as a possibility. both conditions are chronic pain conditions, which lowers one function ability even lower.
For more information about this study, you can visit here.
A few facts…
1. Women are more likely to suffer from fibromyalgia and migraines.
2. A survey concluded that 97% or respondents reported that light was a trigger for pain and other symptoms
3. In the same survey, 63% were sensitive to light between attacks.
For myself, my neurologist prescribed appropriate medications to treat my migraines. A rescue medication to be taken at the onset of a migraine and a preventative. It has lowered my migraines, but I still find I do get more then my share of migraines. I’ve experienced really intense headaches since I was in my early twenties. However , I was always told they were cluster headaches or tension headaches. It wasn’t until last year I was diagnosed with chronic migraines with aura.
I do believe fibromyalgia can intensify migraine pain levels. Fibromyalgia lowers our body’s tolerance to stress ( migraine) and also lowers our pain threshold. Both factors can increase how we feel pain levels. For now, I take every step to try to prevent migraines from occurring as much as I can, because the migraines I do experience are debilitating and leave me bed ridden.
Here is a website about migraines which I found very detailed and informative. Migraines.