Headaches and Fibromyalgia
If you have fibromyalgia, you are probably experiencing muscle aches and pains all over your body. You may also notice that you suffer from more headaches or migraines than you used to before the onset of your fibromyalgia. Headaches can make fibromyalgia even harder to deal with - they can contribute to the pain you are already suffering from as well as to the sleep disturbances, nausea, and fatigue that characterize the disease. If you find that you are suffering from headaches or migraines with your fibromyalgia, you are not alone.
Types of Headaches
Everyone has experienced a headache at some point in their life. That aching or throbbing pain in the head, behind the eyes, or in the temples can hit anyone without warning. In fact, headaches are common occurrences and can be caused by fatigue, hunger, illness, or stress. Often, headaches can be dealt with simply by taking over the counter painkillers. But for people who already have fibromyalgia, taking care of a constant headache may not be not be so simple.
People with fibromyalgia tend to suffer from three different types of headaches: muscle tension headaches,migraines and combination headaches.
Muscle Tension Headaches: Also referred to as muscle contraction headaches, tension headaches are caused by muscle contractions that occur in the neck, head, jaw, upper back, and shoulders. These muscle spasms are first felt at the base of the neck but soon work their way upwards, eventually spreading to the temples. People often describe these headaches as feeling like a band tightening around their entire head. Tension headache pain can range from moderate to severe and typically lasts a few hours.
Migraine Headaches: Migraine headaches are caused by constrictions of your blood vessels and arteries, and are thus also known as vascular headaches. Due to stress, fatigue, or illness, the blood vessels in your head and neck begin to constrict and then dilate, causing severe pain, nausea, dizziness, and eye pain. A migraine headache can also move around your head, shifting from side to side.
The most common type of migraine is called the \\\"common\\\" migraine, and affects about 70% of migraine sufferers. The common migraine is usually preceded by episodes of anxiety, depression, and fatigue. The less common type of migraine is the \\\"classic\\\" migraine, and is always immediately preceded by visual symptoms including double vision, blurry vision, flashing dots, bright lights, or distorted vision. These visual symptoms are often called the migraine aura. Sufferers of the \\\"classic\\\" migraine may experience these symptoms for 15 to 60 minutes immediately before a migraine. Migraine symptoms typically last about 4 hours, though they can plague you for as long as a week. Migraines can develop into chronic headaches.