Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Relationship Between Muscle Tension and Migraines

This has been a rough week so far. I've been battling a terrible migraine and now the muscle spasm in my neck, shoulders and upper back is redeveloping. In an effort to get on top of this spasm before it gets out of hand, I've started using the Thermacare Heat Wrap and am working hard to keep the area relaxed. 

Relaxing these muscles is a huge undertaking as they tense up in response to the migraine. The worse the pain the more of my upper body becomes tense and the harder it is to relax them. This tension seems to then make the pain worse, which makes the tension worse. 

I don't entirely understand the relationship between my muscle tension and my migraines but there is no doubt one exists. 

The first neurologist I saw for my migraines told me I had a lot of tension in these muscles. At the time, my migraines were constant - 27/7 migraine. He seemed certain that this tension was retriggering my migraines. Before one would resolve, another one would be triggered causing the constant migraine. He put me on the daily Baclofen (muscle relaxer), which has brought the frequency down to an average of 18 per month. I honestly think I would have lost my mind years ago if not for the Baclofen.

The migraine specialist I was seeing at Mayo insisted Baclofen is not a migraine drug, which is what prompted him to send me to physical medicine. It was this referral which lead to me getting the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia. As much as I was relieved to finally have some answers about the other non-migraine symptoms I was having, I was also frustrated that nobody seemed to be looking at the big picture. The truth is that before the Baclofen, I constantly had a migraine. The two ARE RELATED. 

The compartmentalization that can occur within these specialties can make it difficult to sort through any sort of relationship between symptoms or conditions. I'm feeling trapped in this crack in the system, unsure where to turn to get help; but in need of help as my muscle tension is becoming a bigger problem. Interestingly enough, I'm also seeing an increase in the severity of my migraines. 

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