Research Opportunity: Aches, pains, & fibromyalgia

If you have migraines, you know that migraine is more than "just a headache." There a lot of other disabling symptoms besides head pain that can occur during a migraine episode.

In addition, having migraine puts you at higher risk for developing a variety of other health conditions, call co-morbid illness. A co-morbid illness is one that occurs more commonly with migraine than you might expect by chance alone. Health problem that are co-morbid with migraine include a wide range of conditions, such as anxiety disorders, allergies, and epilepsy. Migraine has also been linked with an increased risk for other chronic pain conditions, like fibromyalgia.

What is fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that can include widespread aches and pains, fatigue, insomnia, bowel problems, problems with memory and concentration, and mood problems. Fibromyalgia can occur in all age groups, but the average age when symptoms most commonly begin is around 45 years old. Women are affected with fibromyalgia about three times more often than men. Like migraine, fibromyalgia symptom flares can be unpredictable and disabling.

Fibromyalgia is diagnosed after a careful evaluation by your doctor to make certain the pain and other problems are not being caused by another health condition. There are also simple screening tools, like the London Fibromyalgia Epidemiology Study Screener, that can be used to help identify if you might have fibromyalgia. None of these tools, however, can replace your doctor's examination.

Reprinted from Marcus & Deodhar, The Woman's Fibromyalgia Toolkit, 2012, Diamedica Publishing.
How is fibromyalgia linked with migraine?

Fibromyalgia is one of the chronic pain conditions that occurs more often in people with migraine:

  • Fibromyalgia occurs in about 5 in every 100 people in general.
  • Fibromyalgia affects 17 in every 100 people with episodic migraine (migraine typically occurring less than 15 days per month)
  • Fibromyalgia affects 35 of every 100 people with chronic migraine (migraine occurring 15 or more days per month)
  • Half of those people with fibromyalgia also have migraines.

Why is fibromyalgia important?

Fibromyalgia can be disabling.

  • Two in five women with fibromyalgia have trouble doing household chores because of fibromyalgia and one in three has trouble carrying a bag of groceries.
  • In one survey, 47 percent of people had lost a job because of fibromyalgia with only 14 percent of people having lost a job because of another health problem.

Fibromyalgia can also disrupt relationships with your family and friends and result in social isolation.

If you have widespread pain and other symptoms that might be caused by fibromyalgia, be sure to see your doctor. Sometimes these symptoms are caused by conditions that might be fairly easy to correct, like a thyroid hormone imbalance. If you do have fibromyalgia, there are a variety of effective non-drug and drug treatments your doctor can prescribe. If you have migraine and fibromyalgia, you may not get effective migraine relief without also addressing your fibromyalgia symptoms.

Help us learn more about the impact of fibromyalgia

Through the University of Pittsburgh, we're conducting an online survey research study to more carefully investigate important effects of fibromyalgia on relationships with partners, family members, and close friends.

We want to learn more about your fibromyalgia. By spending a few minutes on our survey, you will help us learn more information about fibromyalgia that can benefit people with fibromyalgia and healthcare professionals.

This survey is completely anonymous. Your responses cannot be matched to any personal information or identifiers.

The survey consists of up to 40 multiple-choice questions and should take approximately 25 minutes to complete. Thank you for your participation!

Please click this link to start the survey: Fibromyalgia and Relationship Impact Survey

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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