Saturday, December 19, 2009

Restless Legs & Migraine Headaches

A new study examined the relationship between restless legs syndrome and headaches.

study involved 1,041 people. They were all patients at a headache clinic in Taiwan.

More than 700 of them were suffering from migraine headaches. More than 200 had tension headaches. Fifty-one people had cluster headaches.

Results show that RLS was present in 11 percent of people with migraines. RLS occurred in 4.6 percent of people with tension headaches. It occurred in only two percent of people with cluster headaches.

People with both migraines and RLS had higher rates of other problems such as neck pain,
tinnitus, dizziness and vertigo. They also had higher scores on measures of disability, and anxiety and depression.

Sleep quality also was worse in migraine patients with RLS. The frequency of RLS increased as the number of migraine symptoms increased.

The authors suggested that RLS and migraines may share an underlying mechanism.

RLS involves a strong, almost irresistible urge to move your legs. This urge gets worse at night and eases in the morning.

Often RLS also involves an uncomfortable feeling in the legs. It might be a burning, prickling, itching or tingling sensation.

Women are more likely than men to have RLS. The NINDS
reports that migraines also affect adult women three times more often than men.

About 12 percent of people in the U.S. have migraines. These headaches involve throbbing and pulsating pain. Untreated migraine attacks last from four to 72 hours.

Migraines occur most often in the morning. Many factors can trigger the headache process. These include too much or not enough sleep, and
caffeine withdrawal.

Earlier this year the Sleep Education Blog
reported that many people with obstructive sleep apnea have morning headaches. Another study showed that there may be a link between headaches, naps and insomnia.

Get help for a sleep problem at an AASM-accredited sleep center near you.

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