Migraine and chronic fatigue syndrome

Migraine headaches are very common in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) sufferers, according to a new study just published by researchers from Georgetown University. Migraine headaches were present in 84% of patients with CFS (60% had migraine without aura and 24% had migraine with aura) and tension-type headaches were present in 81% of CFS sufferers. Only 4% of CFS patients had no headaches at all. This compares to 12% of the general population, or 18% of women (two thirds of CFS patients were women) who suffer from migraines. Fibromyalgia (diffuse muscle pains in four quadrants of the body) was much more common in CFS patients with migraines (about 50%) compared to healthy controls. The authors speculate that the same brain disturbances which cause migraine headaches may be also responsible for the fatigue in patients with CFS and that successful treatment of migraines may improve symptoms of CFS. It is well known that migraine sufferers have increased excitability of their brains, even between attacks, compared to healthy individuals. This may be why migraine sufferers are more likely to have other pain syndromes, such as fibromyalgia, back pain, irritable bowel syndrome, TMJ syndrome, and other. More importantly, several treatments have been shown to be effective (to various degrees) for all of these conditions. These include biofeedback and cognitive-behavioral therapy, tricyclic antidepressants, acupuncture, and aerobic exercise.

  1. Dr. Mauskop says: 01/30/20163:08 pm

    Here is an excerpt for Mayo Clinic’s website that answers your question:
    There’s no single test to confirm a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome. Because the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome can mimic so many other health problems, you may need patience while waiting for a diagnosis.

    Your doctor must rule out a number of other illnesses before diagnosing chronic fatigue syndrome. These may include:

    Sleep disorders. Chronic fatigue can be caused by sleep disorders. A sleep study can determine if your rest is being disturbed by disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome or insomnia.

    Medical problems. Fatigue is a common symptom in several medical conditions, such as anemia, diabetes and underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism). Lab tests can check your blood for evidence of some of the top suspects.

    Mental health issues. Fatigue is also a symptom of a variety of mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. A counselor can help determine if one of these problems is causing your fatigue.
    Diagnostic criteria

    To meet the diagnostic criteria of chronic fatigue syndrome, you must have unexplained, persistent fatigue for six months or more, along with at least four of the following signs and symptoms:

    Loss of memory or concentration
    Sore throat
    Enlarged lymph nodes in your neck or armpits
    Unexplained muscle pain
    Pain that moves from one joint to another without swelling or redness
    Headache of a new type, pattern or severity
    Unrefreshing sleep
    Extreme exhaustion lasting more than 24 hours after physical or mental exercise

  2. Anonymous says: 01/26/201611:11 pm

    how do you get diagnosed with chronic fatigue? I’ve had severe migraines for 30 years and feel i also have cfs.

  3. Susan says: 01/15/20132:08 am

    I am a physician who had to retire after only 1 1/2 years practice. I have severe migraines, chronic fatigue, and B12 deficiency.

  4. dana says: 07/14/20116:31 pm

    Could this also tie into getting B-12 deficiency? I just read the article about that and I was wondering if I should consider getting B-12 shots for my migraines and fibro to see if that would help with feeling so tired all the time. Or would it just be a waste of time?

  5. sari says: 03/16/201111:48 am

    I don’t suppose anyone has considered the idea that merely being afflicted with chronic migraines is exhausting in and of its self. This study, however interesting, may very well be looking at the connected between exhaustion and migraine from the aft end.

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