Study Finds Link Between Migraine and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

photo courtesy of ambro/
photo courtesy of ambro/

Having carpal tunnel syndrome makes a person nearly three times as likely to suffer from migraines, a new study has found. Conversely, people who have migraines are also more at risk for carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS).

Researchers examined data from a survey of over 26,000 Americans. 3.7 percent of all respondents reported having CTS, but that rate jumped up to 8 percent among migraine sufferers. Likewise, 16.3 percent of all respondents reported suffering from migraines, but migraine prevalence among people with CTS rose to 34 percent.

After the study adjusted for health and social influences on migraine risk, it found that people with CTS had a 2.6 times higher risk for migraines than people without CTS. Respondents with migraines had CTS 2.7 times more often than those without migraines.

Migraine and CTS share several risk factors, including gender, obesity, diabetes and smoking. This could explain part of the correlation.

Based on their findings, the researchers conjecture that migraines could be the result of compression neuropathies, which are conditions related to pressure on the nerves.

“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,” the authors wrote.

The researchers admit this hypothesis remains “controversial” and “heavily debated.”

Do you suffer from migraines? See if you qualify for the Segal Institute’s clinical research study on migraines today!


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