Migraines and Fatigue

Migraines and Fatigue

Migraine headaches are a particularly painful form of a headache that is often associated with a headache on one side of the head, nausea, vomiting, and photophobia. While migraine headaches can be found in any gender, it is most common among women.

Migraine Fatigue

A lot of migraine sufferers also report fatigue. The fatigue can precede the onset of a migraine headache, and it can occur during a migraine attack as well as following a migraine attack. Not every migraine sufferer reports fatigue but those who have fatigue often feel that their symptoms are disabling and can interfere with the quality of life and the participation in activities of daily living.

Facts About Migraine Fatigue

Migraine fatigue is a common aspect of migraine sufferers, affecting between 70 percent and 84 percent of those who have migraine headaches. It is well known that just the act of being fatigued can be a trigger for getting a migraine headache.

When a headache is underway, the person with a headache often feels fatigue along with the pain they are experiencing. Fatigue, in some cases, can become a warning sign to the migraine sufferer that a migraine headache is imminent.

Fatigue can come to the surface and be a residual symptom even after the headache pain has disappeared. The fatigue can trigger other symptoms of a migraine headache to take place. In one study, it was found that about half of all migraine sufferers experience dizziness or the sensation of spinning called vertigo.

The presence of fatigue usually made the vertigo symptoms more prominent. People with migraines are also prone to depression in which fatigue is a typical symptom.

Defining Migraine Fatigue

Several criteria need to be met in order for the diagnosis of migraine fatigue to be made.
These include the following:

Profound Weakness

The body is physically weak and unable to do normal things.

Debilitating tiredness

This is the desire to sleep even when you have had a good night’s sleep.

Uncomfortable malaise

This is the feeling of being sick that can occur after getting a migraine headache or when having the headache.


This is the feeling that happens when you don’t want to get out of bed to do things.

Feeling exhausted

This can occur for a long period of time and is usually brought on by doing any kind of mental or physical activity.

The feeling of need to sleep all the time

This can occur even after the person has awakened from what should have been a restful sleep.

Problems with task performance

This means that things you could normally do well before the onset of the migraine headaches become too tiring to accomplish.

Disabling symptoms

The migraine patient with fatigue can be severely disabled by having this cluster of symptoms.

Ongoing fatigue after sleeping. Sleeping fails to refresh the person, who wakes up with the same or worse degree of tiredness even after attempting to “sleep it off.”

Migraine fatigue affects many people. In fact, a 2002 research study of 63 people suffering from migraine headaches also had symptoms, which could lead to the diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome. CFS is another disorder altogether, which is characterized by extreme fatigue that is not relieved by rest or sleep and which interferes with the person’s quality of life.

CDC Take On Migraine Fatigue

Migraine fatigue and chronic fatigue syndrome are interrelated. According to the Centers For Disease Control, the fatigue from these conditions are not relieved by resting or sleeping, is not due to an increase in physical activity and is not a lifelong problem. This kind of fatigue greatly diminishes the individual’s past level of activity.

Along with fatigue, the individual must have at least four of the following eight symptoms:

• Prolonged severe exhaustion after mental or physical activities
• Problems with concentration and memory
• Inability to get a good night’s sleep that refreshes their energy level
• Pain in the muscles
• Headaches, such as is seen in migraine headaches
• Sore neck or axillary lymph nodes
• A recurrent or a persistent sore throat

When fatigue is part of the migraine process, the suffering individual has problems participating in normal daily activities. After a headache, the debilitating fatigue lasts longer than the pain itself.

If you have migraine headaches and believe you are suffering from migraine fatigue, keep a journal of your symptoms and show the journal to your healthcare provider to see if anything can be done to relieve or at least cope with the uncomfortable symptoms.

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