Migraine and restless legs syndrome in women

Cephalalgia. 2012 Apr;32(5):382-9. doi: 10.1177/0333102412439355. Epub 2012 Mar 6.


Background: Few clinic-based studies report an association between migraine and restless legs syndrome (RLS); however, population-based data are unavailable.

Methods: Cohort study among 31,370 women participating in the Women's Health Study. We had detailed self-reported information on migraine, including aura status, and RLS. RLS was ascertained at the 9-year follow-up. We calculated odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for the association between migraine and RLS. We investigated any indication of migraine until RLS ascertainment as well as migraine with and without aura at baseline, prior migraine before baseline, and new reports of migraine during follow-up.

Results: At baseline or during follow-up 6857 (21.9%) women reported any migraine. These women had an increased risk for RLS (multivariable-adjusted OR = 1.22; 95%CI 1.13-1.32). Further analyses indicated a similar association for migraine with aura (multivariable-adjusted OR = 1.27; 95%CI 1.10-1.48) and migraine without aura (multivariable-adjusted OR = 1.24; 95%CI 1.09-1.40) as well as for new reports of migraine during follow-up (multivariable-adjusted OR = 1.30; 95%CI 1.10-1.54). Prior migraine did not appear to be associated with RLS.

Conclusions: Our data suggest an association between migraine and RLS at the population level. The association is similar for migraine with and without aura and for new reports of migraine during follow-up.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Migraine Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Migraine Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Restless Legs Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Restless Legs Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Women's Health
  • Young Adult