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Significance and Prevalence of Headache in Multiple Sclerosis

Research study results showed that treatments for multiple sclerosis precipitated headaches and migraines.

Migraine is at least 3 times more common in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) than in the normal population, the significance of which is not well understood. Recent studies have indicated a preponderance of headache complaints in patients with MS that could be due to multiple etiologies.

The majority of headaches reported in studies were migraine, although tension-type headache (TTH) is also commonly observed.1,2 “Headache is common among people with MS,” explained Ruth Ann Marrie, MD, director, Multiple Sclerosis Clinic, Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. “This is not entirely surprising given that a large proportion of people with MS are women—and women are at greater risk of migraine, for example.” Dr Marrie reported that in her practice she sees many headache types, including but not limited to tension type headache, migraine, cluster headache, and occipital neuralgia.

Migraine and MS

Kister and colleagues1 reported a 64% headache prevalence rate in a cross-sectional study of patients at the New York University MS center, of which 72% were diagnosed as migraine. They found that migraine headache was specifically associated with a higher incidence of new or worsening symptoms of MS compared with other types of headache. Although the mechanisms of this correlation were unknown, several theories were suggested. The first was that migraine could initiate an inflammatory response in the brain that would be associated with greater numbers of T1- and T2-enhancing MS lesions.

Read on: Significance and Prevalence of Headache in Multiple Sclerosis

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