Fibromyalgia in migraine: a retrospective cohort study

J Headache Pain. 2018 Jul 31;19(1):61. doi: 10.1186/s10194-018-0892-9.


Background: Migraine is a common and disabling disorder. Fibromyalgia has been shown to be commonly comorbid in patients with migraine and can intensify disability. The aim of this study was to determine if patients with co-morbid fibromyalgia and migraine report more depressive symptoms, have more headache related disability, or report higher intensity of headache as compared to patients with migraine only. Cases of comorbid fibromyalgia and migraine were identified using a prospectively maintained headache database at Mayo Clinic Rochester. One-hundred and fifty seven cases and 471 controls were identified using this database and the Mayo Clinic electronic medical record.

Findings: Depressive symptoms as assessed by PHQ-9, intensity of headache, and migraine related disability as assessed by MIDAS were primary measures used to compare migraine patients with comorbid fibromyalgia versus those without. Patients with comorbid fibromyalgia reported significantly higher PHQ-9 scores (OR 1.08, p < .0001) and headache intensity scores (OR 1.149, p = .007). There was no significant difference in migraine related disability (OR 1.002, p = .075). Patients with fibromyalgia were more likely to score in a higher category of depression severity (OR 1.467, p < .0001) and more likely to score in a higher category of migraine related disability (OR 1.23, p = .004).

Conclusion: Patients with comorbid fibromyalgia and migraine report more depressive symptoms, higher headache intensity, and are more likely to have severe headache related disability as compared to controls without fibromyalgia. Clinicians who care for patients with migraine may consider screening for comorbid fibromyalgia particularly in patients with moderate to severe depressive symptoms, high headache intensity and/or high headache related disability. This is the first matched study to look at these characterisitcs, and it replicates previous findings from unmatched studies.

Keywords: Fibromyalgia; Headache; MIDAS; Migraine; PHQ-9.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Comorbidity
  • Databases, Factual
  • Disabled Persons
  • Female
  • Fibromyalgia / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Migraine Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Retrospective Studies