In order to understand what migraine fatigue is and how it can be treated, patients first need to be able to identify fatigue. It is a feeling of being extremely tired, weak or sluggish that is beyond a simple tired feeling after a long day. It can be debilitating because it produces a constant desire to sleep without the sleep being refreshing or rejuvenating. Someone with this problem often wakes feeling more tired or sluggish than they did before they slept. Fatigue, in and of itself, can interfere with daily activities and personal relationships.
Migraine fatigue produces all of the feelings associated with depressive or chronic fatigue, but is more closely associated with an episode of migraine pain. Migraine symptoms can vary in their intensity and not all patients with migraines experience fatigue. However, an interesting correlation has been discovered that a large percentage of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome, CFS, also suffer from migraine headaches.
Symptoms of migraine, including fatigue, can appear for the patient before, during and even after a migraine attack. A large number of migraineurs have reported to their physicians they felt an overall lack of energy at one or more points during an attack. Overall, a consensus among migraine studies has determined between 70 and 85 percent of migraine sufferers also suffered from fatigue.
Fatigue associated with migraines, by itself, is thought to be triggered or enhanced by one or more factors. The fatigue can be a trigger on its own, or it can be an after-effect of the actual head pain. In a large number of migraine sufferers who experienced fatigue reported that it was a reliable warning sign that a migraine attack was on its way. Fatigue associated with migraines has also been reported to worsen vertigo in patients who experienced vertigo when they were experiencing a migraine headache.
Migraine headaches are extremely common among those patients who suffer from diagnosed chronic fatigue syndrome. A new study, published by Georgetown University, concluded 84% of CFS patients also suffered from types of headaches. Of those 84%, 24% had experienced migraine with aura. This means their vision was adversely affected while in the grip of a migraine attack. Unfortunately, for those patients with a combination of CFS and migraines, instances of fibromyalgia, or widespread body pain without specific cause, was 50% higher than in those CFS patients without migraine.
The Georgetown University study concluded there may be possible benefits to the condition of CFS if doctors are able to successfully treat migraines in those patients with both. In the cases of patients with both issues, both conditions appear to have similar blood vessel related triggers and mechanics. Fortunately for all of these patients, and patients with migraine symptoms that include fatigue, similar treatments have been found effective including biofeedback techniques, acupuncture and aerobic exercise.
Though fatigue is not present in all patients who experience these types of headaches, it can become a major symptom if not diagnosed and treated by a physician. A migraine diary can be an effective tool for tracking particular symptoms and triggers of migraines, reducing the chance fatigue will become debilitating in severity. Proper treatment by a physician and small dietary or exercise changes can go a long way toward preventing migraine fatigue and treating the other symptoms of migraines patients suffer with.