Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes pain in the muscles and fatigue throughout the body, particularly in what are called “tender points”, which are sites or sensitive points that hurt when pressed. This pain, being continuous, causes various consequences in the body, greatly disrupting the quality of life of people suffering from this condition. In addition, the consequent symptoms produced by this condition encompass both physical and mental consequences. The true origin of fibromyalgia is not yet known, but various theories related mainly to the nervous system have been speculated.
It is because of this that both a migraine and fibromyalgia are believed to be strongly related to each other.
What is a migraine?
A migraine is a very intense and quite annoying headache that becomes so strong as to completely disrupt the person’s activities, leaving them incapacitated. It begins as a dull ache in the back of the head that increases as the hours’ pass and becoming like a throbbing until it starts to “beat” violently inside of the head. Migraines are often worse on the sides of the head, behind the eye or on the back of the head or neck. It should be noted that it is not the pain that lasts for a few minutes, but it goes on for even 6 to 48 continuous hours and is usually accompanied by a variety of other symptoms both before and during a migraine:
- Shaking chills
- Increased urination
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Nausea and vomiting
- Eating disorders
These symptoms may last even if a migraine has disappeared. This is called migraine hangover.
What is the relationship between fibromyalgia and migraine?
Studies have shown that patients with fibromyalgia are more likely to have incidences of a migraine than the general population. And it happens exactly the opposite when a third of the patients who are being studied for a migraine is discovered to be suffering from fibromyalgia. These patients often have migraines much more frequently and incapacitating than others, in addition to having sleep disorder and depression.
This correlation between both conditions has come to suggest that they have a similar origin and related to the alteration of neurotransmitters, hormonal changes, and immunological disorders. But to date, a direct relationship between the two pathologies has not been confirmed.
The treatments of patients with Fibromyalgia and migraine are not only pharmacological but also treatments to reduce the symptoms of both diseases as much as possible. Analgesics for a headache and preventive treatments for a migraine, the latter in the strongest and most frequent cases. Doing low impact exercise, good sleep hygiene and psychotherapy can be of great help in not triggering both diseases, as this helps to manage stress.
Migraine treatment can be done with common medications such as paracetamol and over-the-counter anti-inflammatories, but they are not as effective when it comes to migraines that incapacitate the patient. Medicines called triptans are used for this purpose. They are only to treat a migraine so it does not cause improvements in the pain of fibromyalgia, but you have to be careful and take them with the supervision of a doctor as it is contraindicated in people with circulatory problems. Particular care should also be taken not to abuse analgesics, as they can cause a chronic headache.
Of the treatments that can be used to improve both conditions, the most recommended antidepressants that relieve pain effects are Tizanidine, a muscle relaxant that also relieves pain and helps with psychological pain management. Patients with 3 or more migraines per month are recommended for preventive treatment to reduce the frequency and intensity of a migraine, thus improving the quality of life of the patient and avoiding abuse of analgesic.