Research shows there is a connection between migraine and fibromyalgia symptoms. Migraine is common in people with fibromyalgia and can make it difficult to perform daily activities.
Both migraine and fibromyalgia can cause chronic recurring pain that can make it difficult for people to function and perform daily tasks. Experts believe there is a link between these conditions.
People with fibromyalgia are more likely to experience migraine. It is also common for people with chronic migraine to report symptoms of fibromyalgia.
This article will review the link between migraine and fibromyalgia, the symptoms of both conditions, and the treatment options available.
Another 2019 study found that about 30% of people with migraine symptoms also had fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia was especially common in people with migraine with aura or chronic migraine.
Experts know that both fibromyalgia and migraine involve atypical levels of serotonin and norepinephrine in the body.
Additionally, people with fibromyalgia and migraine are more likely to have other conditions that impact neurotransmitter levels, such as depression and anxiety.
However, it is unclear whether one condition triggers the other.
One theory is that migraine triggers fibromyalgia.
Some experts believe recurring migraine episodes
Another theory is that pain in the shoulder and neck regions that can occur in the early stages of fibromyalgia may send painful stimuli to the cervical nerves, such as the trigeminal nucleus caudalis, triggering a migraine episode.
However, more research is needed to understand the precise relationship between migraine and fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia can cause pain and stiffness in the neck and shoulders. This may trigger headaches and migraine episodes.
A fibromyalgia migraine headache
People may also experience pain in the eye on the same side as the headache.
Other symptoms of a fibromyalgia migraine episode may include:
- numbness or tingling sensation
- blurred vision
- increased sensitivity to light and noise
- widespread pain throughout the body
- difficulties sleeping
- joint and muscle stiffness
- difficulties concentrating
- memory problems
- tenderness to touch
- tingling or numbness in the limbs
- irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- increased sensitivity to light, noise, temperature, and odors
- low mood and frustration
The treatment of migraine in people with fibromyalgia typically involves a combination of medications to manage fibromyalgia symptoms and reduce the risk of triggering migraine.
Medications to treat fibromyalgia
- antidepressants, such as duloxetine and amitriptyline
- milnacipran to treat muscle pain and stiffness
- antiseizure medications, such as pregabalin
Depending on the severity and frequency of migraine episodes, doctors may recommend the following medications for migraine:
- nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- prescription analgesics or over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, such as aspirin and ibuprofen
- blood pressure medications
- antiseizure medications
- injections of Botox or steroids to migraine trigger points
A doctor may also recommend lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of triggering migraine and fibromyalgia symptoms.
Fibromyalgia does not always cause migraine.
Tension-type headaches are also common in people with fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia commonly causes stress and stiffness in the neck and shoulders, which are common triggers of tension headaches.
A tension headache feels different from a migraine headache. It typically produces a squeezing sensation across the forehead, side of the head, or back of the head and neck.
Research shows that migraine and fibromyalgia often occur together.
Additionally, if a person has migraine, they have an increased risk of developing fibromyalgia and vice versa.
Evidence also suggests that fibromyalgia may increase the frequency and severity of migraine episodes.
Healthcare professionals may recommend a combination of medications and lifestyle changes to help people with migraine and fibromyalgia manage their symptoms and improve their life quality.