Migraine fatigue symptom : an introduction

Before, during and even after a migraine attack, a number of migraine sufferers report an overall lack of energy. In some, the tired feeling is a disabling migraine fatigue that interferes with daily activities and reduces the overall quality of life.

Information on migraine fatigue

  • Migraine fatigue impacts some 70 percent to 84 percent of migraine sufferers, according to studies
  • Fatigue can trigger migraines
  • Fatigue can accompany head pain
  • Fatigue may be a warning sign that a migraine attack is right around the corner
  • Fatigue may surface after head pain goes away
  • Fatigue can also trigger additional migraine symptoms, a study found that half of people who suffer from vertigo with migraines said fatigue made it worse or triggered the vertigo symptoms
  • Fatigue is often associated with depression in people with migraines


What is fatigue?

  • Extreme weakness, tiredness, malaise or sluggishness
  • Exhaustion for unusually long periods of time after any physical or mental activity
  • Constant desire to sleep
  • Difficulty performing ordinary tasks
  • The feeling often continues even after sleep, which when fatigued doesn’t refresh the body
  • It is disabling when it interferes with daily activities and reduces quality of life

A 2002 study of 63 migraine sufferers found that 67 percent of them met the criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention consider it chronic fatigue syndrome when the fatigue is:

  • Not due to activity
  • Not relieved by rest
  • A relatively new symptom and not a lifelong condition
  • Causes a significant reduction in previous levels of activities

Also, four of the following symptoms must be present for six months or more:

  • Impaired memory or concentration
  • Extreme prolonged exhaustion following physical or mental activity
  • Unrefreshing sleep
  • Muscle pain
  • Pain in multiple joints without swelling or redness
  • Head pain of a new type or severity
  • Frequent sore throat
  • Tender cervical (in neck) or axillary (in arm pits) lymph nodes

Fatigue accompanies many ailments. When it strikes as a symptom of a migraine attack, it can make it very difficult to perform normal activities. Often, fatigue doesn’t go away with the pain. The migraine sufferer may experience fatigue the days following a migraine episode.

Talking to your doctor about your migraine fatigue

Your doctor will ask you questions about your migraine symptoms, how often they occur, how severe they are and how long they last. Keep a migraine journal to record information on your symptoms, including migraine fatigue.


Written by: Otesa Miles | Last review date: November 2010
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