Prevalence of carpal tunnel syndrome in cases with migraine and tension type headache

Volkan Solmaz, Semiha Gülsüm Kurt, Dürdane Aksoy, Betul Cevık, Enes Eser


Background: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is the most frequent entrapment neuropathy; also Tension Type Headache (TTH) and migraine headache are the most common forms of headaches. The aim of this study is to determine whether there is a relationship between carpal tunnel syndrome and migraine and/or TTH, and if so, to determine the factors causing this relationship.  

Methods: This study included 201 patients who were electro-physiologically diagnosed with idiopathic CTS and 100 controls. In addition to being examined for headaches, each patient’s Body Mass Index (BMI) was determined, and each was evaluated with Boston Questionnaire Form (BQF) and a Beck Depression Scale (BDS).  

Results: The CTS group had significantly more patients with TTH and migraine headache than did the control group. In addition, the CTS group had a significantly higher frequency of headaches, and significantly higher BDS and BMI than did the controls. There were no significant differences in headache type and frequency of headache between those with mild CTS and those with mild-serious CTS. In addition, the Boston scores of CTS patients with headache were higher than those CTS patients without headache. Further, the monthly income levels of patients with CTS were lower than those of the control group.

Conclusion: We found that primary headache is more frequent in CTS patients than in controls. This may be due to somato-autonomic reflexes and other common risk factors that can be seen in both CTS patients and those with headache, including obesity, depression and low level of income.



Carpal tunnel syndrome, Primary headaches, Tension type headache, Migraine, Body mass index, Depression

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