By Jan de Vries
Sufferers of fibromyalgia have a lot to contend with, not the least the fact that they are more prone to headaches. And this, combined with other chronic pain issues, makes for a very complex situation.
Headaches can be triggered by many things, including muscular tension, neck arthritis, eyestrain, jaw dysfunction and night teeth grinding. Sometimes, however, chronic headaches can have no obvious cause, and this calls for a bit of detective work.
For many people suffering from fibromyalgia, the cause of their headaches is often never found, and a long-term course of pain relief medication is the only treatment offered. Ironically, this kind of treatment can actually cause headaches.
Drugs that contain codeine or a mixture of paracetamol and codeine are probably the worst culprits, but headaches can also occur as a result of overuse of anti-inflammatory drugs and some migraine medication.
Recent research carried out in Spain has investigated a possible link between fibromyalgia symptoms, including headaches, and ‘oxidative stress.’ What exactly is oxidative stress? As paradoxical as it may sound, oxygen is a toxic substance when it is not harnessed into the chemical reactions needed for life or removed from the cells where, if freely available, it can cause damage known as oxidation.
Think of an overly ripe fruit, or the rust seen on the surface of iron exposed to air. In a similar way, oxygen can punch holes in cell membranes and even damage the DNA found in our cells.
All forms of life have chemical systems that aim to reduce the oxidative stress by using special enzymes, but these systems can become overwhelmed. Many chronic health problems such as atherosclerosis, chronic fatigue, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and fibromyalgia, have been associated with excessive oxidative stress.
This can be the result of poor lifestyle habits such as a bad diet, or smoking. Such habits, or other unknown reasons, can result in defective enzyme reactions and the body just cannot cope with the overload of free radicals.
The Spanish study concluded that oxidative stress might be a contributing factor for the development of chronic headaches in fibromyalgia sufferers. They also discovered that such people have low levels of Co-Enzyme Q10, a key enzyme in the chain reaction needed to reduce oxidative stress.
Those with low Co-Q10 levels were also known to have higher levels of the bad oxygen molecules (free radicals) within the energy centres of the cells. The scientists then set out to see If supplementing Co-Q10 could make a difference by clearing out free radicals and reducing oxidative stress.
The results were very interesting. A significant correlation was found between fibromyalgia sufferers with headaches and ain in general, and high levels of oxidative stress. When these high levels of oxidative stress were corrected there was a marked improvement in headache symptoms. And this was attributed to the effects of improved Co-Q10 levels and its free-radical reducing actions.
I have been treating patients with Co-Q10 for quite some time now, and with excellent results, so this new piece of research was very welcome. It gives hope to the many who suffer chronic pain without a reason, an affliction that is as depressing as it is debilitating.
From the Jan de Vries archives
As Jan suggests, there may be a connection between chronic pain and oxidative stress, in which case a good Co-Q10 supplement can make all the difference! But quality does matter so which Co-Q10 supplement should you choose?
Well usually I would recommend a moderate dose that’s suitable for daily maintenance, which is where Wassen’s We Support Coenzyme Q10 and Magnesium Tablets come in to play. Providing a moderate 30mg dose of Co-Q10 alongside mood-boosting magnesium, these tablets are great for supporting your nervous system and maintaining your energy levels!
However, if you’re looking for a more powerful dose, then you could try Natural Factors range of CoQ10 softgels, ranging from 100mg to 200mg! Affordable and excellent for increasing your energy production, each softgel is 100% natural and great for reducing fatigue.