Fibromyalgia - some words from Dr Steve Rauch

Hi All,

Tekksan’s post prompted me to look more into fibromyalgia. There’s no question, for me at least, that a lot of my symptoms fit fibromyalgia to a tee. The muscle aches and pains that come and go, the massive exacerbation of symptoms when I do any physical activity, the cognitive impairment, the new predisposition to anxiety and depression, and the tiredness that can suddenly hit. Of course, MAV can cause the same things apparently although I sometimes question the level at which I get whacked when I do exercise. Then there’s the sleep disturbance I have going on continually and the IBS that comes and goes – all possibly fibromyalgia. BUT, fibro does not cause dizziness and vertigo, yet I have tons of that going on like all of us do. So, do we have only MAV … or a MAV–fibro combo? I put the question to Dr Steve Rauch who kindly got back to me about it. I’ve yet to hunt down the article he referred to but will post it here for those interested. Who would have thought that a “blind” migraineur could be affected by light?

Scott 8)


I wondered if I could ask you a quick question about fibromyalgia. It’s a question that pops up on mvertigo occasionally, and on further reading, it’s quite interesting how the symptoms of fibro overlap with those of MAV.

I’m wondering if 1) you think fibromyalgia actually exists and 2) is it more likely to be migraine itself causing the non-specific body aches and pains during a flare up? Migraine, as you once mentioned, does cause every day aches and pains to become exacerbated in migraineurs. Everything always seems to feel a little worse and more exaggerated, one can feel tired during a migraine episode, and physical activity is a migraine trigger. And given migraine is a neurological disorder on a global scale throughout the body, it stands to reason that it could be creating many of the symptoms reported by those who think they have fibromyalgia. The only glaring difference of course is dizziness which does not appear in fibro cases to my knowledge. To further complicate matters, perhaps some people have both: MAV and fibro. It really is a nightmare trying to decipher neurological illnesses like these. I guess the good news is that the tricyclics are reported to be effective for both conditions, potentially killing two birds with one stone.

Best … Scott

There is a very heavy overlap (“co-morbidity”) of migraine with fibromyalgia, with irritable bowel syndrome, and with chronic fatigue syndrome. I am certain I have seen some migraineurs whose fibro, IBS, or CFS improve when they treat their migraine with an appropriate combination of diet/lifestyle and migraine suppressant meds. It is tempting to think that these conditions probably co-localize in the brain somewhere, sharing some neural pathways – perhaps related to pain potentiation, etc. Alternatively, as you suggested, since migraine produces a global distortion and intensification of sensory phenomena, it may just make symptoms of these other conditions more dramatic.

Perhaps you’ve seen the recent article by Rami Burstein in Nature Neuroscience about the neural pathways responsible for migraine headache exacerbation by light – even in blind(!) migraineurs? It is great research about a really a fascinating illness.