Comorbidity means that two illnesses occur at the same time frequently enough that the combination cannot be chocked up as merely being co-incidental. Migraine frequently occurs with certain illnesses and those illnesses are now considered migraine comorbidities. For individuals seeking headiache pain relief when they are suffering these other morbidities, both the headache and the other illness must be treated. With appropriate treatment of the coinciding illness, migraines and other headache types previously associated with that illness are likely to become less severe and occur less often.
The illnesses known to be associated with migraines that are the most common migraine comorbidities are:
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Treating the illness that goes hand in hand with migraines often involves separate treatment for both the migraine and the illness. This is called polytherapy and there are a few advantages to this type of treatment. For one thing, with polytherapy each issue (the migraine and the illness) is treated independently of the other which allows for medication changes and dosage changes when necessary. The alternative is monotherapy which tries to address both issues (the migraine pain and an illness such as depression) with one drug. With monotherapy in this example, even if the antidepressant has a component for reducing migraine pain and frequency, there is no way to adjust that particular element of the drug without adjusting the medication dosage as a whole. Additionally, polytherapy allows doctors to find the right combination of drugs for an individual whereas the multi-faceted medications may not offer an individual’s best combination.
The comorbidities of migraines are one reason why getting proper migraine diagnosis is important. Sometime simply treating the migraines or other types of headaches is not enough to keep them from coming back. Migraine pain relief may come with migraine medications, but if an individual is also suffering one of the known comorbidities and that illness goes untreated, there is a strong likelihood the migraines will keep coming back.
Filed under: Types of Headaches
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