Understanding The Relationship Between Fibromyalgia And Migraines


November 21, 2023

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Migraines and fibromyalgia are two complicated and often debilitating conditions that impact the lives of millions of individuals globally. While they are two completely separate conditions, there is an intriguing connection that exists between them.

This article serves as a comprehensive guide to share with you the intricate relationship between these chronic pain conditions. You may already understand the daily challenges if you’re living with fibromyalgia, migraines, or perhaps even both. They are known to cause relentless pain and fatigue, and the way they disrupt your daily life can be overwhelming.

Our goal is to help you understand more about these two disorders. We will discuss how the underlying causes and symptoms of fibromyalgia and migraines may be similar, even overlapping in some cases.

We’ll also explain that while they share many features, they each have unique characteristics that set them apart. Exploring the similarities and differences is vital to understanding the full scope of their relationship with one another.

We’ll also share the various interventions that can provide relief for individuals dealing with these debilitating conditions, including both conventional and non-pharmaceutical approaches.

Gaining a greater understanding of the available treatments may provide you with further clarity and direction to choose an appropriate health management approach tailored to your specific circumstances.

We hope to empower you with knowledge and insights that can guide you on your journey to managing these conditions. By understanding the relationship between fibromyalgia and migraines, you can make informed decisions about your health, potentially improving your quality of life.


What You Need To Know About These Two Conditions

Before we explore the similarities between fibromyalgia and migraines, let’s first gain a better understanding of each condition individually.


What Is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a complex and often misunderstood chronic health condition. It is characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain and fatigue, and it affects millions of people worldwide as one of the most prevalent chronic pain disorders of clinical medicine.

While the exact cause of fibromyalgia remains uncertain, it is widely recognized that fibromyalgia can be a life-altering condition. It is currently believed that fibromyalgia involves abnormalities in the brain’s ability to appropriately process pain signals. Several genetic and immune-inflammatory variables are also thought to contribute to its development.

In addition to generalized pain and fatigue, individuals with fibromyalgia may experience stiffness, muscle spasms, and reduced muscle endurance. An individual’s symptoms can fluctuate in intensity and are often accompanied by sleep disturbances, cognitive difficulties, and mental health concerns such as anxiety and depression.

Sadly, there is currently no cure for fibromyalgia. However, a multidisciplinary approach to management that incorporates medication, physical therapy, and lifestyle modifications can greatly assist individuals in addressing their symptoms and enhancing their overall well-being.


What Are Migraines?

There are many different types of migraines, and they all fall under the category of headache disorders. Compared to your average headache, migraines are much more complicated. They are intense, recurrent headaches that can cause severe pain, nausea, and vomiting.

Migraines are also regarded as an extremely painful and debilitating condition. You might be surprised to learn that at least one in every seven adults worldwide deals with migraines.

There are also numerous variations in the symptoms experienced by migraine sufferers, which might include sensory sensitivities such as sensitivity to light and odors or temporarily impaired vision.

While some people can have distinct triggers for their migraines, the precise cause is often unclear. This can make finding an appropriate treatment strategy for adequate relief particularly challenging. Prescription medications, at-home remedies, and lifestyle modifications are among the current migraine treatment options.

These methods may give some relief in the short term, but for people who experience migraines on a regular basis, the therapeutic alternatives can seem dismal.

We’ve uncovered the complexity of these two conditions and how they affect many people. In the next section, let’s move on to gain a deeper understanding of their shared symptoms, so we might assist in identifying their connections.


Do They Have Shared Symptoms?

It is important to explore the similarities and differences between fibromyalgia and

migraines, particularly if you have noticed that any symptoms you are experiencing are becoming worse or more complicated.

For instance, did you know that individuals with fibromyalgia frequently report having migraines? In 2019, a study conducted by Penn, I-Wen et al suggested that fibromyalgia may affect the frequency and intensity of migraine episodes in those who suffer from chronic migraines.

In the list below, we discuss some of the symptoms that can be shared between the two chronic conditions.

  • Pain: Debilitating pain is a common feature of both fibromyalgia and migraines, while the specific type of pain may differ.
  • Debilitating fatigue: Fatigue is commonly experienced among individuals with both fibromyalgia and migraines. Although there may be differences in the exact nature of the fatigue, it is a shared experience among many managing these conditions.
  • Digestive issues: Both migraines and fibromyalgia may be accompanied by gastrointestinal problems, such as irritable bowel syndrome, nausea, and acid reflux.
  • Sensitivity to light and smell: It is also common that both conditions cause increased sensitivity to light and strong odors, which can trigger or exacerbate symptoms.
  • Difficulty sleeping: Sleep disturbances are prevalent in fibromyalgia and are often reported in individuals with migraines. Pain, chronic inflammation, and hormonal shifts are a few factors that can lead to sleep disturbances.
  • Difficulty concentrating and brain fog: Individuals with these conditions often report cognitive problems, such as brain fog and difficulty concentrating.
  • Mood disorder: Fibromyalgia and migraines have a major emotional impact, with anxiety and depression being typical co-occurring issues.
  • Muscle tension and stiffness: All-over muscle tension and stiffness are commonly experienced in fibromyalgia, while migraines can also lead to tension throughout the neck and shoulder regions.


Along with their common symptoms, there is a possible overlap in the many associated factors and causes of these two conditions, which we will explore in the coming section.


Causes And Contributors Of Fibromyalgia And Migraine

Recent research has indicated it is not unusual for both fibromyalgia and migraines to coexist. In fact, the same study by Penn, I-Wen, et al also revealed that people with migraines were at an increased risk of developing fibromyalgia and vice versa.

Additionally, a similar study uncovered that over 30% of participants who reported migraine symptoms also had fibromyalgia, especially in those experiencing chronic migraine episodes.

So, these conditions might share more connections than initially realized. Let’s take a closer look at the list below to better understand the common causes and risk factors that could contribute to the development of both fibromyalgia and migraines.

  • Sleep disturbances: Both conditions are seen to be related to restless sleep or insomnia. Inadequate sleep can exacerbate the nervous system’s pain and discomfort signals, leading to a vicious cycle of hormone imbalances.
  • Diet and nutrition: The fuel you provide your body matters more than you might realize. Dietary choices can play a pivotal role in the body’s inflammatory response, onset, and severity of these conditions. While one night of junk food won’t necessarily cause these conditions, your long-term nutrition is an important factor to consider.
  • Genetics: Your immediate family’s health history is an important associating factor to your overall health. Both fibromyalgia and migraines have strong hereditary components, so knowing your genetic predisposition may help you identify your individual risk factors.
  • Hormonal changes: Hormonal changes, including monthly fluctuations and those during menopause, can trigger or worsen symptoms of both conditions. This is also relevant for individuals with pre-existing hormonal imbalances or thyroid conditions.
  • Environmental factors: While it cannot always be controlled, your surroundings can be a silent contributor to developing a chronic illness. Environmental factors, such as toxin exposure or certain infections, can influence the frequency and intensity of symptoms for both conditions.
  • Physical trauma and injury: Injuries or trauma can have a long-lasting impact, potentially leading to the development of chronic conditions or exacerbating existing symptoms. The onset of chronic migraines can sometimes be linked to trauma of the head, neck, or back. Similarly, trauma, whether from accidents, surgeries, or emotional experiences, has been observed in those who develop fibromyalgia.
  • Emotional factors: Leading on from trauma, emotional well-being and stress levels are also closely linked to both fibromyalgia and migraines. Emotional factors have been seen to either trigger or exacerbate the symptoms of these conditions.
  • Overuse of medications: In rare cases, overusing certain medications can sometimes lead to what’s known as “medication-overuse headaches,” which can present similarly to migraines. Additionally, other medication side effects that impact the nervous system could contribute to the development or worsening of fibromyalgia symptoms. When taking prescription medications, it is essential to communicate closely with your doctor to find a safe balance that works for you.


We can now see that there’s a considerable overlap between these conditions, underscoring the importance of grasping their connection and finding ways to manage them effectively. However, it is still important these two conditions are understood and treated as two separate conditions. In the next section, we will discuss their differentiating features.


Differentiating The Two Conditions

In contrast to their many shared symptoms, fibromyalgia and migraines also have distinct characteristics that make them each unique. This might seem a bit puzzling, but don’t worry – we’ll break it down in the sections below.

These headings will help you understand what differentiates these conditions, giving you a more complete picture of both.


Fibromyalgia Symptoms And Diagnosis

Unfortunately, individuals diagnosed with fibromyalgia may experience a wide range of symptoms, but the key defining feature is the presence of widespread and persistent pain.

This can be accompanied by fatigue, sleep disturbances, cognitive issues (often referred to as “fibro fog”), and mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. These are also defining symptoms that assist doctors in the diagnosis process.

The diagnosis process of fibromyalgia is not an easy task and is historically delayed. For example, according to one survey in 2010, for an individual to be formally diagnosed, it can take an average of two years.

If fibromyalgia is suspected, medical professionals will search for particular diagnostic criteria, such as the widespread pain that has lasted at least three months, combined with tenderness throughout specific body points.


Migraine Symptoms And Diagnostic Criteria

Migraines, on the other hand, are very specifically characterized by severe episodic headaches that come and go. They can also be accompanied by symptoms of nausea and sensitivity to light and sound (auras). While fibromyalgia can indeed cause headaches and migraines, it’s more characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain that persists.

To diagnose migraines, healthcare providers consider several things, such as how often they occur, how long they last, and the intensity of each episode. A vital part of this diagnosis is also noting the periods when you’re symptom-free, as that helps differentiate migraines from other conditions, such as fibromyalgia.

Understanding the distinct symptoms and separate diagnostic criteria for both migraines and fibromyalgia allows you to distinguish the two disorders, even if their symptoms overlap. Continuing on with their differences, in the next section, we will compare and discuss how the nature of their painful symptoms might differ.


Comparing The Nature Of Pain

It’s become clear that fibromyalgia and migraines are very prevalent chronic pain conditions that significantly impact millions worldwide. We understand that pain is deeply personal and everyone’s experience is unique. And it is crucial to recognize that pain is the common thread that people with these conditions share.

So, let’s compare the nature of pain throughout these conditions because you’ll notice some important variations when you take a closer look.

Fibromyalgia pain is known to blanket the body in persistent, generalized discomfort. However, the pain isn’t always evenly distributed; certain points on the body, known as “tender points,” may be more sensitive and painful. Some patients with fibromyalgia will mention that there are some good and bad days, where symptoms may appear but not persist throughout the day, meaning some symptoms may fluctuate in severity.

Migraines, on the other hand, express a harsh and localized intense pain that targets the head, typically on one side. While migraines can also bring about discomfort in the neck and shoulders or sensitivity to light and sound, the focal point remains the head. Because migraines occur in episodes rather than continuously, they can be quite unpredictable, but the pain and discomfort will subside once the episode ceases.

So, while both conditions involve pain, there are key differences in the nature and distribution of that pain. So, even though they may share similar symptoms, the nature of that pain will differ between the two conditions. Understanding these differences can help guide both an accurate diagnosis as well as appropriate, individualized treatment, as we’ll explore in the headings below.


Interventions That May Improve Fibromyalgia And Migraine

Treatments for both fibromyalgia and migraines revolve around improving symptoms, enhancing quality of life, and preventing further progression of the conditions. There are a number of choices available to individuals, and their chosen management method will depend on their particular symptoms.

The headings below focus on the many conventional therapies available, ranging from physical therapy to pharmaceutical options.


Pain Relievers

Pain relievers may be recommended to help reduce the widespread discomfort of fibromyalgia, whereas for migraines, they can target intense head pain. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen are some over-the-counter medications that may be beneficial. Usually, more intense medications such as opioids are not utilized due to their potential for side effects and dependence.


Antidepressants And Anticonvulsants

While antidepressant medications such as amitriptyline are typically prescribed to help manage depression, they have a versatile role in managing the symptoms of both fibromyalgia and migraines. They greatly assist with pain control and mood management in fibromyalgia, while for migraines, they aim to help regulate pain perception.

In some cases of fibromyalgia, anticonvulsant medications, such as pregabalin, are prescribed. This medication aims to reduce the sensations of pain caused by overstimulated or damaged nerve signals. Valproate is a separate kind of anticonvulsant that is frequently used to treat migraines and is utilized to reduce both their frequency and intensity.



While the idea of acupuncture may sound unusual, it has been shown to offer some much-needed relief for fibromyalgia and migraine sufferers. Acupuncture is a helpful remedy that stimulates the release of your body’s endorphins, helping to temporarily alleviate pain and improve overall well-being.


Physical Therapy

Physical therapy exercises can address the physical aspects of both fibromyalgia and migraines. They can assist in improving an individual’s mobility and overall physical function by strengthening muscles and reducing muscular tension and stiffness. However, it is important to keep in mind that physical therapy cannot tackle the root causes of these conditions.

While these conventional options can provide temporary relief, you can make more informed health decisions by considering advanced alternative techniques. Now let’s shift our focus to explore the non-invasive and medication-free therapies of Neurofunctional Pain Management.


Non-Invasive, Medication-Free Pain Management For Fibromyalgia And Migraine

For individuals struggling with the chronic pains of fibromyalgia and migraines, discovering enduring relief and finding an improvement in quality of life are big priorities.

At Relatyv, we are dedicated to offering pain management solutions that go beyond pharmaceuticals and surgical procedures, using the fundamentals of Neurofunctional Pain Management (NFPM). Our protocol encompasses a whole-person-centered approach that utilizes the following fundamental modalities of NFPM:



Electroanalgesia is a non-invasive therapy that involves high-pulse electrical stimulation, targeting the intricate connections between pain, the nervous system, and the brain. Pain signals are intercepted at the nerve’s source, targeting cellular-level pain relief.

Electroanalgesia aims to break the loop of inflammation that leads to pain by reducing pain-stimulating messages and lowering the body’s levels of inflammation. Most importantly, long-term relief is possible because this unique therapy promotes general comfort and healing by stimulating the production of natural endorphins and neuropeptides.


IV Therapy

Specialized hydration intravenous therapy (IV therapy) is another essential component of our approach. This therapy targets restoring essential nutrients and electrolytes directly through the bloodstream.

This direct approach can create a supportive environment for the body to heal, promoting optimal organ function and the reduction of systemic inflammation. Additionally, our IV therapies are tailored to your individual needs, addressing your specific deficiencies that can reduce symptoms associated with chronic pain.


Lifestyle Counseling

At Relatyv, we foster an approach to pain management that encompasses the whole person. We understand that dealing with chronic pain often goes beyond the physical sensations, where it also impacts your mental health and overall sense of well-being.

Our comprehensive lifestyle counseling is a program that helps educate and support patients to make informed decisions that enhance their quality of life. We can have you embracing lifestyle changes that lead to sustained improvements in your comfort and reduction of uncomfortable symptoms.

The Relatyv protocol combines all of the fantastic elements from electroanalgesia, IV therapy, and lifestyle counseling as an innovative approach to help patients find relief from chronic pain and restore their overall health. Our goal is to improve your overall quality of life, providing you with enduring relief from the challenges and discomforts that come with conditions such as fibromyalgia and migraines.


Relieve The Pain Symptoms Related To Fibromyalgia And Migraine

Despite being two very distinct conditions, fibromyalgia and migraines share similar symptoms, and it’s important they’re not overlooked. With the insights provided in this article, you can now better understand the links and distinctions between these conditions, guiding you toward an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment strategy.

While conventional treatments may provide relief, some individuals prefer non-pharmaceutical options. Most importantly, there are alternative therapies to medications that can address the pain and inflammation associated with both conditions, such as neurofunctional pain management offered by Relatyv.

By addressing symptoms promptly and seeking professional guidance, you can find solutions that better manage the discomforts associated with fibromyalgia and migraines. By choosing Neurofunctional Pain Management at Relatyv, we hope to help you find long-lasting relief and improve your overall quality of life.

Remember, the path to lasting relief begins with early awareness, understanding your condition, and taking proactive steps. Relatyv is here to support you every step of the way. By providing comprehensive insights, we aim to empower individuals dealing with chronic conditions to seek suitable treatment and adopt effective strategies for managing their symptoms.

About the Author

Will is a healthcare executive, innovator, entrepreneur, inventor, and writer with a wide range of experience in the medical field. Will has multiple degrees in a wide range of subjects that give depth to his capability as an entrepreneur and capacity to operate as an innovative healthcare executive.

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