Migraine: More Similarities to FM and ME/CFS Than One Might Think

Cort

Founder of Health Rising and Phoenix Rising
Staff member
Migraine may be very common in FM and ME/CFS. In fact its possible migraine may be the most common co-morbid disorder in FM....

A article on migraine in the New York Times brought up a bunch of interesting commonalities in these diseases.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/18/well/giving-migraine-treatments-the-best-chance.html?module=WatchingPortal&region=c-column-middle-span-region&pgType=Homepage&action=click&mediaId=thumb_square&state=standard&contentPlacement=5&version=internal&contentCollection=www.nytimes.com&contentId=https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/18/well/giving-migraine-treatments-the-best-chance.html&eventName=Watching-article-click

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[/fright]First of all just how awful migraines can be. (Thank god I don't have them.)

If you’ve never had a migraine, I have two things to say to you:

1) You’re damn lucky.
2) You can’t begin to imagine how awful they are.

But they were not just “bad headaches” — the pain was life-disrupting, forcing me to remain as still as possible.
Poor Funding

Migraine is in the same boat as ME/CFS and fibromyalgia. Despite causing enormous amounts of pain and enormous economic losses it gets pitiful funding - about $14 million a year at the NIH. You got to get that this neglect is probably worse than in ME/CFS or FM. Migraine is less constant than in ME/CFS but for those who have chronic migraines they can be terribly debilitating. Migraine effects approximately 35 million people in the U.S. and worldwide it is one of the top illness burden generating diseases.

[fright]
migraine-fundng.gif
[/fright]Why does it get so little help? Probably because it largely affects women, causes pain (traditionally under-researched), was bogged down by psychological mumbo-jumbo and does not kill.

Despite being the seventh leading cause of time spent disabled worldwide, migraine “has received relatively little attention as a major public health issue,”
Few Specialists!

Specialists are rare! That's a real surprise given how common migraine is but few specialists are available given how many people have them. This is probably because migraine patients are considered "difficult patients" for whom treatments often don't work very well.

Neurologists who specialize in migraine research and treatment (“there are not nearly enough of them, given how common the affliction is,” Dr. Charles said)
It's now believed that treating migraines really early - before they've gotten started - is really important. That reminds me of how important it may be to not over do it in ME/CFS/FM and stopping a crash in its early stages. Once the cat is out of the bag medications that might have worked may not.

To be most effective, the new therapies may require patients to recognize and respond to the warning signs of a migraine in its so-called prodromal phase – when symptoms like yawning, irritability, fatigue, food cravings and sensitivity to light and sound occur a day or two before the headache.

“It’s possible that a lot of therapies might be effective, including meditative breathing and relaxation techniques, that don’t help once the train is out of the station,”
That's very interesting given a recent blog from an ME/CFS using a finger biofeedback that helped her finally get some sleep and is known to be helpful in migraine. (Try at the earliest signs of a migraine's approach.)
Similar Symptoms

The sensitivity to stimuli is similar in migraine (if enhanced in migraine in general) and ME/CFS/ME, and the aftermath of migraine very looks much like ME/CFS/FM! Fatigue, cognitive problems, depression - it's very much like ME/CFS/FM and that period can go on for days. People who regularly get migraines can get essentially get continuously stuck in an ME/CFS-like state. It would be fascinating to learn what's going on there and see if something similar is happening in ME/CFS/FM.
After a migraine attack subsides, there are often “postdromal” symptoms like fatigue, depressed mood and cognitive effects like poor concentration and understanding.
I don't know if this is ME/CFS or not but it's interesting that irregular patterns appears to trigger migraines. It's not the caffeine, its irregular caffeine intake, etc. The body apparently has trouble adjusting to change.
Conditions that can trigger a migraine in susceptible people include skipped meals, irregular intake of caffeine, erratic sleep habits and stress. Accordingly, Dr. Charles suggests practicing consistent dietary, sleep, caffeine and exercise habits to limit the frequency of migraines.
Hormones

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[/fright]Hormones play a role in some women's migraines. We know that a significant number of pregnant women with ME/CFS feel much, much better during certain stages of pregnancy and studies have shown remarkably increased levels of disorders associated with female sex hormones. Broderick's modeling suggests that testosterone may be protective for men in ME/CFS - one reason men don't get it as often. So sex hormones play a role in both diseases.
I recalled that my migraines had been at their worst decades earlier when I was on birth control pills, and realized that estrogen withdrawal triggered all my attacks. By then, I was near menopause, but by “filling in” with oral estrogen at the appropriate times in my cycle, I was able to prevent the headaches.
Treatment

One major difference between ME/CFS and FM and migraine is that help may be on the way for migraine sufferers. Who knows? Maybe they'll have some effect with people who have FM and ME/CFS (and no migraines) as well. Dr. Baraniuk has stated that some migraine drugs can help his ME/CFS/FM patients.

Most exciting, however, are new brain-based remedies that have few if any side effects. They include hand-held or headband devices...that transmit magnetic or electrical energy to nerves through the skull to the brain. Nearing federal approval is an exciting new class of drugs that directly target the peptides believed to trigger migraine attacks.
Check out more migraine resources including simple self-diagnostic tests (migraine is greatly under diagnosed) in Health Rising's Pain Diagnosis Resource Center.

 
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Migraine may be very common in FM and ME/CFS. In fact its possible migraine may be the most common co-morbid disorder in FM....

A article on migraine in the New York Times brought up a bunch of interesting commonalities in these diseases.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/18/well/giving-migraine-treatments-the-best-chance.html?module=WatchingPortal&region=c-column-middle-span-region&pgType=Homepage&action=click&mediaId=thumb_square&state=standard&contentPlacement=5&version=internal&contentCollection=www.nytimes.com&contentId=https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/18/well/giving-migraine-treatments-the-best-chance.html&eventName=Watching-article-click

[fright]View attachment 2618 [/fright]First of all just how awful migraines can be. (Thank god I don't have them.)



Poor Funding

Migraine is in the same boat as ME/CFS and fibromyalgia. Despite causing enormous amounts of pain and enormous economic losses it gets pitiful funding - about $14 million a year at the NIH. You got to get that this neglect is probably worse than in ME/CFS or FM. Migraine is less constant than in ME/CFS but for those who have chronic migraines they can be terribly debilitating. Migraine effects approximately 35 million people in the U.S. and worldwide it is one of the top illness burden generating diseases.

[fright]View attachment 2620 [/fright]Why does it get so little help? Probably because it largely affects women, causes pain (traditionally under-researched), was bogged down by psychological mumbo-jumbo and does not kill.



Few Specialists!

Specialists are rare! That's a real surprise given how common migraine is but few specialists are available given how many people have them. This is probably because migraine patients are considered "difficult patients" for whom treatments often don't work very well.



It's now believed that treating migraines really early - before they've gotten started - is really important. That reminds me of how important it may be to not over do it in ME/CFS/FM and stopping a crash in its early stages. Once the cat is out of the bag medications that might have worked may not.



That's very interesting given a recent blog from an ME/CFS using a finger biofeedback that helped her finally get some sleep and is known to be helpful in migraine. (Try at the earliest signs of a migraine's approach.)
Similar Symptoms

The sensitivity to stimuli is similar in migraine (if enhanced in migraine in general) and ME/CFS/ME, and the aftermath of migraine very looks much like ME/CFS/FM! Fatigue, cognitive problems, depression - it's very much like ME/CFS/FM and that period can go on for days. People who regularly get migraines can get essentially get continuously stuck in an ME/CFS-like state. It would be fascinating to learn what's going on there and see if something similar is happening in ME/CFS/FM.


I don't know if this is ME/CFS or not but it's interesting that irregular patterns appears to trigger migraines. It's not the caffeine, its irregular caffeine intake, etc. The body apparently has trouble adjusting to change.


Hormones

[fright]View attachment 2621 [/fright]Hormones play a role in some women's migraines. We know that a significant number of pregnant women with ME/CFS feel much, much better during certain stages of pregnancy and studies have shown remarkably increased levels of disorders associated with female sex hormones. Broderick's modeling suggests that testosterone may be protective for men in ME/CFS - one reason men don't get it as often. So sex hormones play a role in both diseases.


Treatment

One major difference between ME/CFS and FM and migraine is that help may be on the way for migraine sufferers. Who knows? Maybe they'll have some effect with people who have FM and ME/CFS (and no migraines) as well. Dr. Baraniuk has stated that some migraine drugs can help his ME/CFS/FM patients.



Check out more migraine resources including simple self-diagnostic tests (migraine is greatly under diagnosed) in Health Rising's Pain Diagnosis Resource Center.

 
I had migraines from the start of my menstrual periods. Fibromyalgia entered the picture in my 30s. The migraines faded when my menstrual periods stopped in my 50s. Another problem I have had was depression and isolation. I think this is also a condition of fibromyalgia, but not addressed. I am 78 now and the fibromyalgia has worsened over the years. I believe aging symptoms adds to the fibro pain. I have less energy and tire more easily, yet still have problems sleeping. Sleeping has always been a problem too. I recently have been diagnosed with beginning stages of Alzheimer. I noticed these changes about 4 years ago, mostly remembering names etc. in conversation. But I guess this is more age than fibro. Colder weather is fast approaching and I don't look forward to it. Sensitivity to the cold another symptom to all of the above. Barbara Desrosiers
 

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