Fibromyalgia and Migraines: What’s the Connection?

Fibromyalgia, Migraines, Headaches,  Upper CervicalMigraines and Fibromyalgia

Do you suffer from chronic migraine headaches? Do you suffer from other pain, mood changes, insomnia, or several other conditions? Your migraines may be part of a larger process in your body known as Fibromyalgia.

Recently, a study was done of the cerebrospinal fluid glutamate levels in patients who suffer from chronic migraines. Patients with Fibromyalgia had much higher levels than those without, which is indicative that fibromyalgia patients suffering from these debilitating headaches suffer from a more severe central sensitization process.

Understanding Central Sensitization

Central sensitization is responsible for how the body processes pain, due to repeated exposure to that outside condition that leads to a heightened sensation of pain due to changing sensory responses. That process occurs when tissue damage or inflammation causes nociceptive Neurons in the spinal cord’s dorsal horns to become overly sensitive.

Basically, how a person’s neurons function and how the circuits in their nociceptive pathways react is heightened, and they become more sensitive to pain. Nociceptive Pathways are then activated by peripheral stimuli and intense stimuli causes or threatens to cause tissue damage. Central Sensitization is the body’s way of preventing injury by withdrawing from that which is causing the pain. Think of the pain you feel as the home security system for your body. You wouldn’t ignore an alarm going off in your house in the middle of the night because it would be a possible indicator of an intruder. Your body’s alarm system sounds when it is threatened with possible nerve damage.

Central Sensitization and Fibromyalgia

So, what does all of this have to do with Fibromyalgia? Well, according to recent studies, it is postulated that the central sensitization of migraine sufferers who also suffer from Fibromyalgia is heightened.

Though, that pain can be relieved by addressing the underlying cause, rather than allowing the body’s alarm system to continue to protect the body from outside threats by causing more pain. When the top two vertebrae in the spine are out of alignment by even ¼ of a millimeter that hinders the body’s communication process. This alteration in the community between the brain and the body has been linked to central sensitization, fibromyalgia and migraine headaches. An upper cervical specialist can frequently reduce or eliminate the pain of fibromyalgia and migraine headaches by restoring the body’s communication system thereby addressing these central sensitization issues.

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Dr. Jeff Leach of Living Well Chiropractic, in Plymouth, Minnesota is a Plymouth Chiropractor and Upper Cervical Specialist trained by the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA). His upper cervical clinic also serves Minnetonka, Maple Grove, Wayzata, and St. Louis Park. He is uniquely trained to correct problems in the upper cervical spine (upper neck). This vital area is intimately connected to the central nervous system and problems in this area have been shown to be an underlying cause of a variety of different health problems, including migraines and other headaches, sciatica, neck and back pain, and torticollis. More information can be found on our website at