UT Southwestern researchers may have identified a link between Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) and migraine headaches. Using data from almost 26,000 respondents of the Adult Core module of the 2010 National Health Interview survey, researchers calculated representative prevalence estimates of both CTS and migraines.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a disease that affects about 6% of the adult population and costs the $2 billion dollars, annually. It is the most common syndrome within the family of compressional neuropathies. Often, associations of incidence exist between compressional neuropathies, such as the increased prevalence of CTS in patients diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome.
Migraine headaches affect 15% of the adult population, resulting in the expenditure of 17 billion dollars and 112 million bedridden days annually in the U.S. In the past, migraines have not been formally considered to belong to the family of compressional neuropathies. However, due to the ability of decompression therapy to alleviate migraine symptoms, some researchers suggest that migraines may actually be caused by nerve compression. This is further highlighted by the benefit botox injection offer those who suffer from migraine headaches. In light of this, researchers wanted to determine if an association exists between CTS and migraine headaches.
From the data collected from 26,000 respondents, the researchers saw similar prevalences of both CTS and migraine headaches that had previously been reported to exist throughout the adult population, 4% and 16%, respectively.
Health and demographics were taken into account while determining the representative prevalence of each disease. While the incidence of CTS increased with increasing age, an inverse relationship between increasing age and prevalence of migraines was demonstrated. Women, adults who reported being overweight, and adults with diabetes more commonly reported suffering from both CTS and migraines. Current smokers exhibited an increased incidence of migraines, however both past and current smokers demonstrated an increased prevalence of CTS. Asians had the lowest reported incidence of both CTS and migraines.
The researchers suggest that the association between migraines and CTS may indicate that migraines may be an early indicator of an increased risk for the development of CTS.