Nerve decompression surgery for carpal tunnel is a well-established treatment option, and is also used for patients suffering from nerve damage caused by diabetes. However, the efficacy of its treatment in the area of migraine headaches has been controversial.
New research has been released pointing toward a potential connection between the systemic conditions of carpal tunnel syndrome and migraine headaches: two diseases with poorly understood pathologies. The implications of this connection may allow for earlier diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome and other neurological issues by identification of underlying risk factors and symptoms.
CTS and Migraines
In a survey of over 26,000 respondents:
- 16 percent of people reported migraines without incidence of CTS
- 34 percent of people who did have CTS also reported migraines
- Respondents with CTS were 2.6 times more likely to have concurrent migraines
- After adjusted analysis, respondents with migraines were 2.7 times more likely to have CTS
The results of this study indicate a clear connection between CTS and migraine headaches, even after controlling for shared risk factors and demographic variance.
Migraines have not been considered compression neuropathies in the past, but the findings of this research show a possible connection to the pathology of CTS. Researchers have already begun to acknowledge evidence indicating that migraines can be triggered by nerve compression in the head and neck, and the new research link to CTS may strengthen the argument.
While the connection is still tenuous, it is the first of its kind to draw a relationship between the two neuropathies. Further research will be needed to tell what kind of conclusions can be drawn from the information and how best to manage the care of patients suffering from these diseases.