Migraine Comorbidities

Written by Jessica Puterbaugh | August 24, 2022

A comorbid condition is a disease or condition that is simultaneously present with another, generally occurring in a greater frequency than with the general population. People with migraine often have one or more comorbid conditions, which further complicates their treatment. Today, Migraine Meanderings begins a new blog series, “Migraine Comorbidities.” This series will explore common comorbidities and the ways they impact life with migraine.

Identifying Comorbid Conditions

People with migraine often experience a wide range of symptoms that can also be caused by other conditions. Often the hardest part is figuring out what is really going on and finding a diagnosis that can inform the proper treatment. This can be extremely difficult. It can take a long time and require considerable energy—something already at a minimum for those who live in chronic pain.

For people who have multiple chronic conditions to manage, it can become a game of figuring out which ones are the most important to treat, and for many it involves just trying to put out the biggest “fire” at any given time. In addition to this, even if patients are the bandwidth to manage multiple conditions at the same time, they then have to figure out how to do this. While some medications may treat more than one condition, others may be contraindicated.

This blog series is going to look at some of the most common migraine comorbidities such as:

  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Cardiovascular disorders
  • Mental health disorders
  • Sleep disorders
  • GI disorders
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Asthma

Getting Started

Below are some things to do if you suspect your symptoms may be something more than migraine:

1, Track your symptoms

Keep a running list of all symptoms (even if they seem unrelated) as well as the medications you take, and share them with your doctor.

2. Find the best doctors

Find a certified headache specialist AND a well-rounded primary care doctor who can help connect the dots that may be otherwise missed. It may also be necessary to seek care from other specialists.

3. Become an empowered patient

Trust your instincts! Doctors, even the good ones, often tend to stay in their own lanes, which makes finding an accurate diagnosis that much more difficult to obtain. It is crucial to advocate for yourself as a patient and to speak up when you feel something is being missed. Learn more about becoming an empowered patient here.

4. Connect with others

Sometimes migraine pain is so all-consuming that we don’t pay enough attention to the variety of other symptoms we may be experiencing. Connecting with people who also live with migraine may help shed light on other conditions. Often, someone else’s experience can offer the information and encouragement you need.

Tell us! Do you live with multiple chronic conditions? How do you manage them? Are there any specific comorbidities you’d like to see covered in this upcoming blog series?

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