Migraine Fatigue: It’s Beyond Feeling Tired
Migraine attacks come with a plethora of symptoms and side effects. These can be from both the migraine itself or even our self-care measures like the abortive medications we use to help ease an attack. The one thing that holds true about migraine fatigue for me is that it is way beyond just being tired. Many people experience fatigue as part of other conditions and situations in their life. Lack of sleep, heavy exertion, and jet lag are three common factors that can cause fatigue. For a migraine sufferer, though, fatigue takes on a whole new aspect during an attack.
Fatigue during prodrome and postdrome
As part of a migraine cycle, I almost always experience extreme fatigue symptoms. It presents itself like an energy-sucking beast that just won’t let go. It seems as if my knuckles are dragging on the floor and the total body exhaustion keeps me from anything close to normal functioning. I often feel the effects of fatigue in the prodrome and postdrome phases of an attack. I guess I don’t notice it as much during the aura or pain phase of an attack because I am preoccupied with other aspects of the event. During an attack, it is hard for me to stay focused on more than one main thing at a time, and most of my concentration gets thrown into my self-care routine and getting the medication I need to help ease the attack.
A symptom of migraine and its comorbidities
Fatigue is common in many other conditions besides migraine. Some of the more common conditions that have fatigue as a symptom are fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, lupus, multiple sclerosis, depression, and sleep apnea. I myself suffer from a couple of these conditions along with migraine disease. It’s no wonder why so many of us suffer from fatigue when it is so prevalent with these migraine comorbidities. I am an inquisitive person by nature and I like to read all sorts of studies and research papers on the things that I am experiencing. I recall a study I read on fatigue and it said something like 70% of people that experience headaches have fatigue as a symptom and of those 80% suffer from chronic migraine.
Advocating for my needs
I am a big advocate of sharing what I experience and how it impacts my daily life with my doctors. I always try to take the time and write out what I want to discuss with them prior to having an appointment. It really helps me to get the most out of my visit, and because my memory and cognitive functions are not always at their best it helps me to stay focused and cover what I wanted during the visit. Having another person with you as an informed advocate is another layer of preparedness I try to have in place to keep things productive during a visit. My wife, who also suffers from migraines, is my greatest advocate and I appreciate her help and insights during my visits immensely.
Find a doctor who will listen
If you are experiencing fatigue or any other symptom that you find is bothersome and having an unwanted impact on your life I encourage you to make an appointment with your doctor or GP and have a candid discussion with them about what you are experiencing. I fully understand that some doctors will be less than helpful at times or even try to brush off your symptoms, but there are doctors out there who will take your concerns seriously and truly endeavor to find a way to help you address them. This is why finding a qualified doctor or headache specialist is so important to ensure you get the best care for your conditions.
How much has your migraine disease changed or evolved over time?