(HealthDay News) — Carpal tunnel syndrome appears to increase risk for migraine headaches, and migraines may increase the risk for carpal tunnel syndrome, according to a new study published online March 19 in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery — Global Open.
The researchers analyzed data from 25,880 Americans who took part in a health survey. About 16 percent said they’d suffered a migraine within the past three months, and nearly 4 percent had carpal tunnel syndrome within the past year.
Thirty-four percent of people with carpal tunnel syndrome had migraines, compared with 16 percent of those without the nerve disorder. After adjusting for other factors, the researchers concluded that the risk of migraine was 2.6 times higher in people with carpal tunnel syndrome. Similarly, more than twice as many people with migraines had carpal tunnel syndrome — 8 percent, versus 3 percent of those without migraines. After adjusting for other factors, the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome was 2.7 times higher among migraine sufferers.
The research team also found some shared risk factors for migraine and carpal tunnel syndrome, especially obesity, diabetes, smoking, and being female. The findings may help “inform” the debate over the use of nerve decompression surgery to treat migraine, the researchers said. “Recently…there is some evidence that migraine headache may be triggered by nerve compression in the head and neck, with some patients responding to nerve decompression by surgical release” of pressure at specific migraine trigger points, the researchers noted.