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Patient Video: Joint Hypermobility Syndrome and Migraine Connected

Connections between Migraine and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) have been identified for several years. In 2011, a preliminary study published in Cephalalgia and led by current National Headache Foundation President, Vincent Martin, MD, suggested EDS is associated with increased disability, frequency, and prevalence of migraine in females.

EDS is a collection of connective tissue disorders. The type linked to migraine is the hypermobility type and it is hereditary. Symptoms include joint hypermobility that affects the elbows, knees, fingers, and toes; an increased frequency in joint dislocations; and, an increased likelihood in bruising on the skin. Those with EDS also experience chronic pain that can be above and beyond physical and radiological findings, according to The Ehlers-Danlos Society.

Martin, who is the Director of the Headache and Facial Pain Center at the University of Cincinnati, experiences himself both migraine and EDS. He recently interviewed Sarah, his patient, who also lives with both conditions.

They discuss how EDS, although it is not often diagnosed, is likely more prevalent than believed and has a dramatic impact on the quality of life for those who have the disease. Those with EDS are often called “zebras” from the idea that healthcare professionals often learn to expect the most likely, simple explanation for a diagnosis. Because of this, conditions, such as EDS, often go undiagnosed.

Sarah also describes how EDS and migraine have impacted her life. She has advice for patients who find themselves in a similar situation. By being her own advocate, Sarah has developed a greater understanding of her conditions, worked to find a healthcare provider that benefitted her, and has dedicated herself to increasing public awareness for EDS.

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