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Headaches and migraines in patients with fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia symptomsHeadaches and migraines


Headaches and migraines are common in people suffering from fibromyalgia.  Headaches and migraines of a new type, pattern, or seriousness are one of the diagnostic criteria for fibromyalgia. Sometimes the headache is treated as a symptom of those conditions, while sometimes it is considered a comorbid condition.

How are they connected?

Fibromyalgia, headaches, and migraines belong to a group of diseases that have been categorized by several general terms, including functional somatic syndromes and somatic diseases. Another term that has grown in importance over the last few years is central sensitivity syndromes. These syndromes are defined as diseases whose physical symptoms cannot be fully accounted for or diagnosed as an established medical condition.

Migraines have long been linked to somatic functional syndromes, including fibromyalgia, which means that these conditions often coexist. Although it is not clear why this happens, researchers are investigating the possibility that one of the underlying mechanisms that the three conditions can have in common is central awareness.

Prevent headaches and migraines

More important than dealing with a headache when you have it is stopping it from happening in the first place, especially since reducing head pain can help reduce fibromyalgia symptoms and ME/CFS symptoms as well.


Since treating fibromyalgia involves symptom management, it is essential to keep head pain at arm’s length. Headaches may be present in fibromyalgia, especially tension headaches and migraines.  Fortunately, there is a broad spectrum of treatment options.

  • OTC medications for headaches and migraines include:

– Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs), such as Motrin (ibuprofen), Aleve (naproxen), and aspirin.

-Painkillers such as Tylenol (acetaminophen) and Excedrin (aspirin/paracetamol/caffeine)

  • Prescribed Medications

-Physicians may prescribe migraine drugs when over-the-counter medications do not rule them out. These medications include:

-Prescribed analgesics like Cambia (diclofenac) and stronger combinations of ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

-Triptans including Imitrex (sumatriptan), Axert (almotriptan), Relpax (eletriptan), Maxalt (rizatriptan), and Zomig (zolmitriptan)

-Migranal (dihydroergotamine), alkaloid ergot.

-Antiemetic agents such as chlorpromazine, Haldol (haloperidol), and metoclopramide.


  • pharmaceutical

Medicines your doctor may prescribe to help reduce the incidence of migraine attacks include:

  • Biopharmaceuticals, including Aimovig (erenumab) and Ajovy (fremanezumab-vfrm)
  • Betabloquants like Inderal (propranolol), Toprol (metoprolol), and timolol.
  • Antidepressants, such as amitriptyline
  • Anticonvulsants such as Neurontin (gabapentin), Depakote (Divalproex), and Topamax (topiramate).
  • Non-pharmacological measures

Aside from preventive medications, other measures can help prevent headaches and migraines:

  • Acupuncture
  • chiropractic treatment
  • biofeedback
  • Hypnotherapy
  • physical therapy
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation

Lifestyle change

  • Lifestyle changes can also play a significant role in the treatment of headache-migraine-fibromyalgia  including:
  • Dietary changes: You may find that some foods or drinks cause headaches, which makes their avoidance important for how you feel.
  • Exercise: Although exercise helps some people, it is difficult when you have fibromyalgia. Make sure you don’t make yourself worse By overdosing.
  • Reduce stress: Learning to manage and reduce stress may also help, especially as stress is a major cause of headaches and migraines.


Dealing with a medical condition tends to be challenging, and having more than one can complicate things. Working to effectively treat and manage all your conditions, and living a healthy lifestyle in general, can make a meaningful difference to your quality of life. Fortunately, in the case of headaches,  migraines, and fibromyalgia, you could obtain a dual service with several treatments and preventive measures. If you have headaches or migraines, consult your doctor for a diagnosis and begin searching for effective treatments.

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