Every so often a study comes out that just leaves me saying “well duh!” and I’m sure I’m not alone. This week I read one of those studies. I thought it was common knowledge that there was higher frequency of migraines in Fibromyalgia patients, that Migraine is a co-morbidity of Fibromyalgia. Evidently it wasn’t as common as I thought. Or, perhaps we all just knew it but someone needed to do a study to prove it.
That’s where Brinder Vij and colleagues come in. They did a rather large study based on self-reported symptoms and found that over 55% of the Fibromyalgia patients that responded to their survey also meet the diagnostic criteria for Migraines. Previous studies have indicated that as many as 30% of Migraine patients also meet the criteria for Fibromyalgia. So, while your likelihood of suffering from Fibromyalgia is pretty high if you already live with Migraines. The likelihood that if you have already been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia that you also suffer from Migraine is much higher.
I am one of those people who live with both (among others). I’ve lived with migraines for as long as I can remember. They seem to run in my family. My mom has always had them. My brother has them. I have them. My niece and nephew both have them, and it seems to get worse with each passing generation. One more reason for me to not procreate.
Most of those who only live with Migraines can still identify somewhat with what it’s like to live with Fibromyalgia. There’s a thing called a “migraine hangover”, basically once the pain is gone you still have these other symptoms that stick around. You are stiff all over, you hurt, you are totally fatigued, and you can’t focus. The pain may only last a few hours but these after-symptoms can often last for days. These symptoms are exactly what it’s like to live with Fibromyalgia and it never goes away. It’s no wonder that many chronic Migraine patients meet the criteria for Fibromyalgia.
Vij, B., Whipple, M. O., Tepper, S. J., Mohabbat, A. B., Stillman, M., & Vincent, A. (2015). Frequency of Migraine Headaches in Patients With Fibromyalgia. Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain.