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05 November 2007

Migraine, restless legs link

Restless legs syndrome occurs more often in people who suffer migraines than in those free of these debilitating headaches, according to results of a study.

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Restless legs syndrome occurs more often in people who suffer migraines than in those free of these debilitating headaches, according to results of a study.

Depression may also be associated with Restless legs syndrome (RLS) and migraine.

RLS is an intolerable internal feeling of itching or creeping sensations in the legs that forces the affected person to move his or her legs to get relief. It usually occurs at the end of the day in bed or when seated.

How the study was done
Dr Stefan Evers from the University of Munster and colleagues investigated the prevalence of RLS in 411 patients with migraine and 411 controls who had no history of headache suggestive of migraine.

They found that RLS was significantly more prevalent in the migraine group than in the control group (17 percent versus six percent).

"In addition, patients with migraine showed a trend towards worse symptoms of RLS than patients who suffer only from RLS," the investigators note.

There was no significant association between migraine and an actual diagnosis of depression; however migraine patients scored significantly higher on a standard screen for depression known as Beck's Depression Inventory (BDI).

Migraine patients with RLS scored higher
Similarly, rates of depression were not significantly different in the 71 migraine patients with RLS and the 340 migraine patients without RLS, but migraine patients with RLS had significantly higher BDI scores than migraine patients without RLS.

Being older and having migraine headaches for a long time seem to raise the risk of RLS, the investigators also report.

Migraine patients with RLS in the study were significantly older than patients with migraine only.

Evers and colleagues say future studies may uncover a common genetic background for both RLS and migraine. – (Reuters Health)

Read more:
Restless leg syndrome explained
Better help for restless legs

 
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