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Ann Indian Acad Neurol. 2012 Aug;15(Suppl 1):S104-8.

Primary headaches in restless legs syndrome patients.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Himalayan Institute of Medical Sciences, Swami Ram Nagar, Doiwala, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India.


Earlier studies conducted among migraineurs have shown an association between migraine and restless legs syndrome (RLS). We chose RLS patients and looked for migraine to exclude sample bias.


99 consecutive subjects of idiopathic RLS were recruited from the sleep clinic during four months period. Physician diagnosis of headache and depressive disorder was made with the help of ICHD-2 and DSM-IV-TR criteria, respectively. Sleep history was gathered. Severity of RLS and insomnia was measured using IRLS (Hindi version) and insomnia severity index Hindi version, respectively. Chi-square test, one way ANOVA and t-test were applied to find out the significance.


Primary headache was seen in 51.5% cases of RLS. Migraine was reported by 44.4% subjects and other types of 'primary headaches' were reported by 7.1% subjects. Subjects were divided into- RLS; RLS with migraine and RLS with other headache. Females outnumbered in migraine subgroup (χ(2)=16.46, P<0.001). Prevalence of depression (χ(2)=3.12, P=0.21) and family history of RLS (χ(2)=2.65, P=0.26) were not different among groups. Severity of RLS (P=0.22) or insomnia (P=0.43) were also similar.


Migraine is frequently found in RLS patients in clinic based samples. Females with RLS are prone to develop migraine. Depression and severity of RLS or insomnia do not affect development of headache.


Migraine; primary headache; restless legs syndrome

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