Restless legs syndrome and tension-type headache: a population-based studyReport as inadecuate

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The Journal of Headache and Pain

, 18:47

First Online: 19 April 2017Received: 07 March 2017Accepted: 08 March 2017DOI: 10.1186-s10194-017-0754-x

Cite this article as: Chung, PW., Cho, SJ., Kim, WJ. et al. J Headache Pain 2017 18: 47. doi:10.1186-s10194-017-0754-x


BackgroundRecent studies have shown a significant association between restless legs syndrome RLS and primary headache disorders. Nevertheless, information regarding the association between tension-type headache TTH and RLS is limited. This study aimed to investigate the association between RLS and TTH in a population-based sample.

MethodsWe selected a stratified random population sample of Koreans aged 19–69 years and assessed them using a semi-structured interview designed to identify RLS, headache type, and clinical characteristics of TTH. We determined the prevalence and clinical impact of RLS in participants with TTH.

ResultsOf the 2695 participants, 570 21.2% and 142 5.3% were classified as having TTH and RLS, respectively. Among the 570 individuals with TTH, 113 19.8% also met the criteria for probable migraine PM. The prevalence of RLS was significantly higher among individuals with TTH than among those with non-headache 6.0% vs 3.6%, p = 0.018. The prevalence of RLS was significantly higher in subjects with TTH who fulfilled PM criteria than in those with non-headache participants 8.0% vs. 3.6%, p = 0.018. However, RLS prevalence in individuals with TTH who did not fulfil PM criteria did not differ from that of participants with non-headache 5.5% vs. 3.6%, p = 0.063. TTH participants with RLS had higher visual analogue scale scores for headache intensity 5.1 ± 2.0 vs. 4.3 ± 1.8, p = 0.038, and higher prevalence of anxiety 20.6% vs. 8.8%, p = 0.022 and depression 14.7% vs. 3.5%, p = 0.002 than TTH participants without RLS. Multivariable analyses revealed that headache aggravation by movement odds ratio OR = 2.4, 95% confidence interval CI = 1.1–5.2 and depression OR = 3.5, 95% CI = 1.1–11.4 were significant indicators of RLS among individuals with TTH.

ConclusionsThe prevalence of RLS was higher among individuals with TTH than among those with non-headache. Some clinical presentations varied in accordance with the presence of RLS among participants with TTH.

KeywordsRestless legs syndrome Tension-type headache Anxiety Depression AbbreviationsCIConfidence interval

GASGoldberg anxiety scale

ICHDInternational classification of headache disorders

IRLSSGInternational restless legs syndrome study group

KHSSKorean headache-sleep study

OROdds ratio

PMProbable migraine

RLSRestless legs syndrome

TTHTension-type headache

VASVisual analogue scale

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-s10194-017-0754-x contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Author: Pil-Wook Chung - Soo-Jin Cho - Won-Joo Kim - Kwang Ik Yang - Chang-Ho Yun - Min Kyung Chu


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