The Connection Between Fibromyalgia + Migraines

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Fibromyalgia, also called fibrositis, is an incurable disease characterized by widespread muscle pain and consequential tenderness, fatigue, and mood problems. Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition. Women are more likely than men to develop fibromyalgia and people who have tension headaches, temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and anxiety or depression are also more likely to develop fibromyalgia.

SYMPTOMS OF FIBROMYALGIA

-chronic muscle pain; muscle spasms; muscle tightness
-moderate to severe fatigue or chronic fatigue syndrome
-insomnia
-stiffness after waking up or from staying in the same position for too long
-mental fogginess; difficulty remembering or concentrating
-abdominal pain including bloating, nausea, constipation or diarrhea
-tension headaches and migraine headaches
-jaw and facial sensitivity
-sensitivity to light, odors, noise, medications, foods, temperature
-anxiety and/or depression
-tingling or numbness in the face, hands, arms, legs, or feet
-urinary problems including irritable bladder or an increase in urinary frequency

People with fibromyalgia share many common health problems with persons who have chronic migraines, and persons with fibromyalgia usually have chronic migraine headaches as well. Studies suggest that fibromyalgia and chronic headaches may be associated with increased excitation in the nervous system that leads to an unnecessary, adverse response to certain stimulations that should not be painful or unpleasant. It’s possible that persons with fibromyalgia may have abnormal levels of serotonin that would contribute to the brain’s chemical response to “painful” experiences.

FIBROMYALGIA MEDICATIONS

ANTIDEPRESSANTS:
-Amitriptyline
-Nortriptyline (Aventyl, Pamelor)
-Citalopram (Celexa)
-Fluoxetine (Prozac)
-Paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva)
-Duloxetine (Cymbalta)
-Milnacipran (Savella)

ANTIEPILEPTICS:
-Gabapentin (Neurontin)
-Pregabalin (Lyrica)

MUSCLE RELAXANTS:
-Cyclobenzaprine (Amrix, Flexeril)

MIGRAINES

Migraines cause intense, throbbing pain on one side of the head or at the back of the head. Nausea, vomiting, and hyper-sensitivity to light and sound are common symptoms of migraines as well. Migraines can last for hours or days depending on the severity. Migraines are thought to be caused from changes in the brainstem and the major pain pathway such as chemical imbalances of serotonin. Serotonin is a major regulator of the nervous system. Serotonin levels decrease during a migraine which triggers the release of neuropeptides that stimulate a migraine or a headache.

Migraines can be induced by a variety of factors including genetics and environmental factors such as:

-Hormonal changes in women during pregnancy and at menopause. Hormonal changes from birth control pills can also trigger migraines in some women, or help relieve migraine symptoms for other women
-Foods including: caffeine, alcohol, chocolates, aspartame, MSG, and aged cheeses are known to trigger migraines
-Stress
-Strong sensory stimuli such as loud music, potent smells, bright lights
-Sleep irregularities
-Intense physical activity
-Weather changes or barometric pressure changes

MEDICATIONS TO STOP A MIGRAINE

-acetaminophen (Tylenol)
-nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) including: asprin, ibuprofen, naproxen (Advil, Aleve, and Bayer)
-triptans (serotonin receptor agonists) including: sumatriptan (Imitrex), zolmitriptan (Zomig)
-Ergotamine derivatives (Cafergot)

MEDICATIONS TO PREVENT A MIGRANE

-Anticonvulsants (topiramate)
-Antidepressants (Amitriptyline)
-Antihistamines (cyproheptadine)
-Beta-blockers (propranolol)
-Botulinum toxin (Botox)
-Calcium channel blockers (verapamil)
-Histamine

MAGNESIUM

A common treatment for fibromyalgia and migraines is magnesium. Persons with low levels of magnesium can experience exacerbated symptoms of both fibromyalgia and migraines; thus it is important to get magnesium levels checked and to maintain proper magnesium levels when diagnosed with fibromyalgia or migraines. Symptoms of low magnesium levels include: fatigue, nausea, muscle cramping, tingling, muscle contractions, loss of appetite. Low magnesium levels are linked to migraines. Magnesium is a natural element and it is necessary for the body to function properly.

Magnesium is an important mineral used in the production of proteins, the transportation of energy, and in the functioning of bodily enzymes, muscles, and bones. Magnesium also helps to keep the heart healthy and the immune system strong. Magnesium is necessary for proper nerve function, and if a person is magnesium deficient – it may cause migraines or worsen symptoms of fibromyalgia. Magnesium is available in a variety of forms, including: capsule, powder, powder suspension, liquid, syrup, tablet, packet, and injection. Be sure to check with a medical professional before taking magnesium supplements or any other medication.
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