A recent study published in the Journal of Headache and Pain should remind doctors and patients that that we need to pay attention to related symptoms in patients with headache.
When we say that “migraine isn’t just headache”, it’s hard to know how to say simply just what it is. After all, some migraine patients never have a headache. But most have headache plus many other symptoms. And those symptoms are different with every patient.
Major depression, also known as clinical depression or major depressive disorder, has a complex connection to migraine. It is likely that there are underlying biological and genetic factors that are behind both in some people (although some people with migraine are not depressed).
A recent study investigated a third symptom that tends to go along with both major depression and migraine – muscle soreness or pain.
Patients with major depression and anxiety were followed up after two years, and their symptoms were evaluated, including headache, migraine, and muscle pain.
Headache and migraine were strongly associated with pain in the muscles of the neck, shoulder, back, upper limbs, and lower limbs. The researchers suggested that treatment of headache, as well as depression, could help alleviate muscle soreness as well in these patients.
Other studies have suggested that when migraine patients have pain other than headache, they are at further risk to end up with chronic migraine (see Warning Flag: Do you have non-headache pain?).
When patients deal with major issues such as intense migraine attacks and uncontrolled waves of depression, they often don’t even think about the fact that their shoulders are sore. Many symptoms are missed because we are trying to deal with the big ones. But the more symptoms we can get rid of, the better quality of life will be overall.
Do you suffer from muscle soreness or pain, as well as a headache disorder? Have you ever discussed it with your doctor?
- Neck Pain: A Missing Piece of the Migraine Puzzle?
- The above study: Headache: an important factor associated with muscle soreness/pain at the two-year follow-up point among patients with major depressive disorder.