In meteorology, the term “perfect storm” refers to any phenomena where rare circumstances combine to create an even more critical situation. In other words, it is a “worst-case scenario.”
For example, a totally unrelated presence of warm air from a low-pressure area combines with the cool, dry air from a high-pressure area in addition to the tropical moisture. These are three different weather situations that, when combined, produce such a ferocious typhoon that threatens both people and the environment they live in.
When fibromyalgia and migraines come together, it is also a perfect storm of illness that can physically, emotionally, and mentally devastate just about anyone.
Fibromyalgia and Migraine Defined
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fibromyalgia is a condition that makes a person suffer from pain all over the body. Individuals who suffer from this condition are said to be abnormally sensitive to pain signals. This is also technically referred to as “abnormal pain perception processing.” Studies are still underway to determine the exact causes of fibromyalgia.
Some of the most common symptoms of fibromyalgia include:
- Widespread pain in the body
- Numbness, especially in the feet and hands
- Face or jaw pain
- Belly Ache
- Irritable Bowel Movement
- Memory Problems
- Mental Fog
On the other hand, a migraine is a moderate to severe headache that is commonly felt on one side of the head. There are cases, however, that the severe pain affects the entire head. Other symptoms of migraine include:
- Inability to concentrate
- Abdominal pain and diarrhea
- Sensitivity to light, loud sounds, or certain smells
In some cases, like migraine with aura, a person may not have a headache, but he or she experiences other symptoms, including seeing:
- Flashes of light
- Rectangular shapes
- Blind spots
Some people who experience migraines with aura may also have temporary blindness.
Fibromyalgia and Migraines: A Worst-Case Scenario
Some would call the combination of migraine and fibromyalgia one of the worst-case scenarios for unwell people. Fibromyalgia makes you feel pain all over the body, while migraine makes you suffer head pain that is throbbing, pulsating, or pressing on you for hours or even days on end.
In a study published by the American Journal of Managed Care, it has already been established that these two disorders “tend to co-exist.”
6 Conventional Ways of Dealing with Fibromyalgia and Migraines
Given the difficulty of dealing with these two disorders’ pain, it is best to know some of the mainstream methods to get relief. These are the six most common ways that people deal with fibromyalgia and migraine based on the advice of pain management and health care specialists:
1. Patient Information & Education
One of the most important and effective ways to deal with any disorder or condition is to be informed and educated. We need to know exactly what health issues we face and the options available to address the pain and other symptoms.
With the internet, we can access entire libraries related to health and wellness. Even before we visit a health care provider’s office, we can already read up or download information and vital facts about our health concerns. This is a great advantage since with the information we obtained, we can better converse with our health care providers about our symptoms and other information they need for the diagnosis aspect and, later on, to provide relief methods that will suit our specific health condition.
Sleep is another reliable pain relief method. It allows our mind to take a respite from the pain during our unconscious state. While asleep, our body’s own innate self-healing systems are at work. Any injury or strain that contributes to pain is being healed at the cellular level during deep sleep. Indeed, restorative sleep is one of the most effective ways to deal with fibromyalgia and migraine.
Migraine with fibromyalgia can be so debilitating that immediate pain relief is needed. At times, the best recourse is to take prescription drugs and over-the-counter pain relievers, based on our health care provider’s advice.
4. Exercise and Muscle Strengthening
Exercise is also an excellent way to find pain relief. Our body naturally produces happy hormones during exercise and muscle-strengthening activities (like weightlifting or high-intensity interval training). As we exercise, our body releases serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins. These are referred to as happy hormones because of their ability to induce feelings of happiness, pleasure, and even love. The so-called “runner’s high” is rooted in our body’s amazing ability to make us feel good. When we get this “high,” we also reduce our feelings of pain and misery.
5. Stress Management
People from all walks of life also swear by the efficacy of stress management techniques and practices like meditation, yoga, and body massage. Check out your local sports club or wellness center for meditation or yoga classes for beginners. For massage, there are many styles to choose from like Swedish Massage, Thai Massage, Shiatsu, etc. Consult your health care provider about the massage that will suit your condition. Remember, some people with fibromyalgia are very sensitive to touch, so make sure to ask questions first before booking a massage appointment.
6. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Also known as “talk therapy”, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has helped thousands to cope with pain and depression. CBT is a method that helps people analyze their own thought processes and language and how these affect their emotions, decisions, and all aspects of their life.
Another Natural Way to Manage Fibromyalgia and Migraines
There is a 7th way to deal with pain from fibromyalgia and migraines. For decades, people have found benefits in upper cervical spine care. Chiropractic services help correct the misalignment of the two topmost bones of our spine: the atlas (C1 vertebra) and the axis (C2 vertebra).
Numerous research findings indicate that injury or misalignment in the upper cervical spine makes a person more prone to fibromyalgia and migraines.
When our body experiences any injury, trauma, or misalignment, it also makes our body release substances or chemicals that work as “pain messengers”. When the body produces the substances in large amounts, fibromyalgia symptoms increase or intensify.
When explained with more detail, the atlas and axis bones’ misalignment also irritates the brainstem and spinal cord. This irritation escalates to more intense pain, as well as muscle and nerve dysfunctions.
The good news is that upper cervical correction significantly helps address the irritation, reducing pain intensity while allowing the person to regain health over time.
If you want to prevent the perfect storm of fibromyalgia and migraines, please contact an upper cervical chiropractic office near you.