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.