Fibro Headaches and Food Triggers
It’s a Real Headache
Fibromyalgia is a condition that defies comprehension in many ways. The exact cause of it remains unclear and it can present in a number of different ways in each individual. The symptoms run the gamut from widespread muscle and joint pain to fatigue and just about everything in between. Among the aches and pains most fibromyalgia sufferers may experience chronic headaches, often migraines that can intensify an already difficult situation.
There are a number of different types of headaches and the truth is that most people experience some types of headaches somewhere down the line in life. For fibro sufferers, muscle tension can create headaches that result from muscle contractions in the neck, head, jaw, upper back, and shoulders. Muscle spasms in the neck can work their way up to the temples and, like a tight band around the head, the pressure creates pain registering from moderate to intense. Often these headaches can be handled with an over-the-counter pain reliever or muscle relaxant that causes the pain to subside relatively quickly.
The Mother of All Headaches – Migraine
Migraine headaches, also known as vascular headaches, are classified as either with an aura (classic) or without an aura (common). They are caused by the constriction of blood vessels in the head and can result from stress, fatigue, or illness. The blood vessels constrict then dilate, and when they dilate and the flow of blood rushes through the renewed open vessel, severe pain, nausea, dizziness and pain in the eyes result. The common migraine may show up without warning but in 40 to 60 percent of cases, there is a bit of warning preceding the headache. Premonitory symptoms (a sense that a headache is coming before it hits) can last for hours or days and include fatigue, irritability, depression, cravings for sweet or salty foods and sleepiness. A migraine sufferer can tell a headache is on the way when he or she becomes attuned to these premonitory signs.
How Does an Aura Appear?
About 20 percent of migraine sufferers will experience classic migraines that are preceded or accompanied by an aura. Visual and physical disturbances are part of the aura experience and include:
· Zigzag pattern of flashing lights in bright colors in the center of the field of vision
· A blind spot called scotoma
· Pins and needles on one side of the body in the hand, arm, mouth or nose
· Auditory irregularities such as buzzing or ringing sounds
· Affected sense of taste and smell during which food may taste unusual and one may smell food or beverages that aren’t there – such as a coffee aroma without the coffee
Trigger Similarities Between Fibromyalgia and Migraines
Fibromyalgia, like migraine headaches, has triggers that set off the reaction in the body. Since many people with fibromyalgia also have migraine headaches it is worth noting that many of the same food triggers appear in both conditions. Also, attention to dietary triggers helps to deal with both the headaches and the fibromyalgia pain in the body. Unfortunately, fibromyalgia is not a specific illness but more of a symptom complex which means that what works for one person in terms of treatment may not work for another.
7 Foods to Avoid that Trigger Fibromyalgia and Migraines
There is some consistency though in the food triggers that relate to both migraines and fibromyalgia. By being aware of these triggers and avoiding them it is possible to relieve some of the discomfort of both fibromyalgia and migraine headaches. There are seven foods that if avoided, can provide a measure of relief.
1. Aspartame (NutraSweet)
2. Food additives including MSG (monosodium glutamate) and nitrates
3. Sugar, fructose, and simple carbohydrates (white flour, cakes, bread) that can cause yeast overgrowth
4. Caffeine – including coffee, tea, colas, and chocolate
5. Yeast and gluten (cake, donuts, bread)
6. Dairy, both low- and high-fat
7. Nightshade Vegetables – tomatoes, chili and bell peppers, potatoes and eggplant. While nightshade plants are not directly associated with migraine headaches, they are connected with fibromyalgia
It is well known that eating a healthy diet helps the body to become healthier overall enabling a person to cope with any disease or disorder.