New Studies Connect Migraine and Restless Legs Syndrome

The link between restless legs syndrome (RLS) and migraine is not new, but recent studies are confirming and broadening our knowledge of the connection.

In restless legs syndrome, your legs will feel very uncomfortable, making you feel like you should move them.  Getting up and moving around can help temporarily.

Restless Legs?

RLS can steal your sleep, and make life very difficult in situations where you need to be still for periods of time (such as during travel).

RLS has been linked to various other conditions, including diabetes and kidney disease.  And, of course, migraine.

A study out of Austria last month researched 111 children and adolescents with migraine.  They found that migraine patients were much more likely to have RLS than non-migraineurs.

Earlier this year, a study was published in the USA regarding the link between migraine and RLS in women.  Once again, women with migraine had an increased risk.

Earlier studies have also suggested that migraineurs with RLS had poor sleep (not surprising) and worse symptoms with more disability.  Which causes which is unknown, although research is being done into how the two are linked biologically.

Interestingly enough, RLS may also be caused/triggered by use of certain medications, such as meds including caffeine and calcium channel blockers.  It could be that some of the incidences of RLS in migraineurs are related to taking these medications.

Often RLS symptoms will resolve when the underlying disease, such as migraine, an iron deficiency, or diabetes, is treated.  However, some other common treatments include:  Stretching exercises, massage, warm baths, and certain medications.

As with any comorbid disorder, be sure to let your doctor know that you have these symptoms.  It will help them provide better treatment.

Read more about restless legs syndrome at the Mayo Clinic.

Recent studies:

10 comments… add one
  • Kerry Craig Aug 23, 2012

    Hmm, I didn’t know there is a connection but I do have both rls and migraines.

  • Erin Marrash Aug 23, 2012

    I didnt get rls until my migraines really started going…

  • Rhonda Cordova Aug 23, 2012

    Mysister, my mom, my daughter, we all have migrains. They have rls all the TimE and I only have it sometimes. Its crazy

  • Vicki Olson Ennis Aug 23, 2012

    I have migraines and I swear my husband has rls!

  • Sandi Starks Aug 23, 2012

    Interesting. I’ve had both my entire life. I wonder???

  • April Grigg Aug 23, 2012

    I get both also!

  • Julie Maggs Aug 24, 2012

    I only get migraine and that’s more than enough 🙂

  • Shazzy Bee Aug 24, 2012

    How is this new. I have been reading about this connection for awhile now and yeh I have both

  • Shazzy Bee, it’s not that the connection is new, but that ” recent studies are confirming and broadening our knowledge of the connection”. 🙂 Interesting to hear about so many who experience both. Have any of you had treatment for RLS, or have your doctors recognized the connection?

  • Allison Syzdek Aug 24, 2012

    RLS is the most annoying thing. My doctor recommended iron pills, which does help. Also, to help prevent migraines, I take fish oil pills.

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