Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sjogren's Syndrome and Headaches

Image found here

I was browsing some of the posts over at the Sjogren's World forums today, and noticed an interesting question. One of the readers had commented that she had frequent headaches and wondered if they could be related to Sjogren's syndrome or autoimmune disease. There were several responses by other sjoggies who agreed that frequent headaches were a problem for them. I hadn't considered this symptom in Sjogren's before since luckily for me, it hasn't been a recurring issue. Well, except on those rare mornings that follow an evening which includes more than one mango margarita.

I did a literature search and was surprised to see that yes, indeed - headache in Sjogren's syndrome is a common symptom confirmed by several studies that looked at prevalence of headaches specifically related to Sjogren's syndrome. Headache is discussed in this very thorough article outlining neurological aspects of Sjogren's syndrome by by Stewart J. Tepper M.D.: "Headache can occur in Sjögren's, and in a study by Dr. Gibson in London, who looked at thirty-five patients with primary Sjögren's in his Sjögren's clinic, about forty-six percent (46%) met the International Headache Society classification criteria for migraine. It may be that the headaches are a manifestation of the Sjogren's."

Although several studies confirm the increased incidence of headache and migraines in Ss, it appears that the cause of the headaches can be varied. This study speculates that "The high prevalence of migraine in pSS patients might be explained by a vascular headache triggered by immuno-mediated disease activity without an obvious clinic or laboratory marker."

Another study, published in the Annal of Rheumatic Diseases, also showed a significant increase in prevalence of migraine and headache in patients with primary Sjogren's syndrome. The authors comment that causes could include stress and emotional upheavals that accompany the disease but also may be due to underlying disease processes similar to the headaches commonly associated with Lupus and other connective tissue disorders.

Other sources suggest that some headaches associated with Sjogren's syndrome may be the result of frequent sinus infections due to increased viscosity of mucous secretions.

Treatment of these headaches depend on underlying causes and severity of the pain, so talk to your doctor about treatment options for your headache.

My discussion would probably go something like this: So, doctor - I'm thinking that my headaches which follow three mango margaritas must definitely be related to Sjogren's syndrome, right? Right? Doctor? Whaddya mean, they're mango margarita related?!

Please. He must not have read the latest scientific literature. Pfft.


Melody said...

I loved this witty and also informative thank you :)

Jazzcat said...

That's explain a lot to what is happening to me sometime... Thanks.

SS blogger said...

Splitting headache today instead of just a minor one as usual. interesting this blog confirms my suspicions that the headaches are related to sinus even though i do not have a blocked nose.

Anonymous said...

Had the sinus headaches due to chronic sinus infections due to Sjogrens, 3 surgeries later, bone and cysts removed they are gone,. However migraines got worse when Sjogrens started around age 30, now at 60 they are chronic and daily, wonder if Sjogrens is the cause.

Anonymous said...

After Hoshimoto's @ 20 yrs. I developed migraine. Now @ 54 yrs. I'm wondering if lack of proline in our saliva, to neutralize tannin in food, which could lead to gut disfunction, is an issue. Do you realize our government and colleges have put a lot of study into this for farm animals! Animals don't do well with too much tannin in their feed. I also suspect my glands cause me face pain.

Anonymous said...

I had terrible non-stop headache on my left side. Then bought a nebuliser. I use the nebuliser every morning, without any medication. Instantly the headache was gone! Dry sinuses on the left side only, made me think I had migraine. Hope this helps someone. x

bsby666 said...

I too have been diagnosed with sjogrens headaches, and was put on amitryptaline, it really helped, I only get them now when I'm congested :)

Loree said...

I have had migraines since I was very young. Instead of looking at my sjogrens as a cause to my headaches worsening and fatigue among other very critical key points my Dr. believes that sjogrens only effects dry eyes and mouth and they keep focusing on the headaches as the cause for everything, i stop breathing at night, i had to quit driving cause I would space out and run into other people,my hip and leg hurts so bad when i try to lay down i want to cut them off, my brain won't do what my mind tells it to now i am having trouble walking with out help if I am out and about for a while and get tired, i have attacks where i get slurred speech , my words are garbled, i have taken trips to ers in ambulances all vitals are good a little high blood pressure so by the time u see the dr you have a headache associated they call it my hemoplegic migraine send you home you sleep for 72 hours and start all over(sorry had to read could not remember what I was talking about and this probably makes no sense i have sinusitis, and a mri has shown cysts in my cavities sleep with my room at a below normal condition with extra blankets and humidifier cpap is coming with humidifier I just cant get a dr to see that sjogren's is more than dry eyes and mouth I have 2 3" binders full of medical history but know one will read them

Anonymous said...

i wake each am with a head ache its because the fluids in my nasal area are dry after about an hour of sitting up the headache is gone if you have sjogrens and a dr gives you amitripline or what ever it is he or she is not helping as it caused dry mouth lol thats one of the of sjogrens symtoms and you sure do not need to have help worsening that