Weight and migraines

kinny-overweight-just right

Remember the days when your neurologist would tell you to lose weight due to your migraines… after years of preventative treatments that caused the weight gain in the first place? Good times. Because obesity was a risk factor for migraine and migraine chronicfication.

Well, now underweight is added to the list.

So what you are looking for is the Goldilocks zone.

“As obesity and being underweight are potentially modifiable risk factors for Migraine, awareness of these risk factors is vital for both people with Migraine and doctors,” said study author B. Lee Peterlin, DO, of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. “More research is needed to determine whether efforts to help people lose or gain weight could lower their risk for Migraine.Migraine Again

And here is the clincher… they have no clue if us losing or gaining weight could help with migraines we ALREADY have.

Before you diss the research it was a significant meta-analysis of 12 studies involving 288,981 participants.  Obese individuals were 27% more likely to have migraines than people of average weight. This would be a BMI 30 or higher. People in the underweight area 13% more likely to have migraine. BMI less than 18.5.

“Given that obesity is associated with a variety of pain disorders and with depression, the finding is not surprising but it is important,” he said, adding that it makes sense “because obesity induces inflammation and inflammation contributes to pain.”

What he found surprising, however, was that “the underweight are at risk for migraine and the mechanisms here are less clear.” Medscape

Study limitations are that in some of the studies BMI was self-reported and people tend to lower their BMI.

So it is a matter of keeping the BMI over 18.5 and below 30. Forever. Yeah. With medications that cause a boatload of weight gain. Or people like me with hypothyroidism on top of things, that is always fun. Not to even mention other comorbids.

I know weight has never been a factor for me. But my BMI has always been within 22-29. Currently at 23. It went high when I gained a lot from meds. I was going strong for a bit there. Lyrica I suspect, which long term can cause pretty continuous weight gain. Then I lost 20 pounds on topamax. And then a couple years later lost another 25 due to persistent nausea and lack of appetite.  I was a little underweight when I was 18, but migraines didn’t hit until I was twenty and by then I was right where I should have been weight wise. And I still got migraines and went chronic. So it is a risk factor, but it is one of many. Doctors focus on it a lot, but we have the migraines already do we not? This is a risk factor for Getting migraines.

Although as I said, obesity is also a risk factor for chronification but not sure about the research behind that one since the research for chronification and chronic migraines never seems to be substantial. Others for chronication are life stress, depression, medication overuse, improper use of acute medication, chronic sleep deprivation and having had a trauma in life. I think depression was my risk factor although they did tell me my migraines went chronic due to central sensitization.  Depression did seem to jump in once I was chronic… due to the pain and all.