Migraines Associated with RLS

Restless Legs Syndrome linked to migraine headaches

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) A large trial has found that women with migraine headaches are at a slightly increased risk of developing Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS).

RLS is a neurological syndrome in which those affected experience an irresistible urge to move their body to stop uncomfortable sensations.

It most often occurs in the legs, but can affect various parts of the body, including the arms.

"Talk to a doctor about treatments for RLS."

Markus Schürks, MD,  an instructor of medicine at the divisions of preventive medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and lead researcher, initiated the study because little research was available regarding the link between RLS and migraines.

During the cohort study researchers followed 31,370 healthy women under the age of 45 that participated in the Women's Health Study. The women were randomly assigned to take 100 milligrams of aspirin on alternating days, 400 milligrams of vitamin E on alternating days, both treatments or two placebos.

The women regularly filled out questionnaires about symptoms of RLS and new migraines during the nine-year study period. About 22 percent of women reported migraines at the beginning of the study or during follow up.

After adjusting for lifestyles such as smoking status, cholesterol and body mass index, and adjusting for age, researchers found that women with migraines were at a 22 percent increased risk of developing RLS.

However, they found that women that had reported prior migraines, but do not currently suffer from them, were not at a heightened risk of developing the condition. Researchers indicated this may suggest that active migraines are capable of prompting the development of RLS in some patients.

The reason for that association is not clear.

The study was published in Cephalalgia, an International Headache Society journal.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
April 16, 2012
Last Updated:
April 20, 2012