Danish Study Links Low Back Pain, Environmental Factors to Migraine

4038478934_c125f6f548_bAccording to a recent study from Denmark, people with low back pain and a low level of education are at an increased risk of developing migraine, as are those who engage in heavy physical work and recreational activities. The same study found that migraine risk decreases among those who consume alcohol at least once a week or more.

The longitudinal study included 13,498 people between the ages of 18 and 41, including 6,513 men and 6,985 women.  Researchers, led by Han Le, a PhD student at the Glostrup Hospital in Glostrup, Denmark, also found a difference regarding migraine and migraine with aura. A low level of education and heavy physical work and recreational activities increased the risk of migraine without aura, while underweight individuals were at a significantly higher risk of developing migraine with aura.

The researchers also noted that previous studies have indicated that smokers and people with asthma and epilepsy are also at an increased risk of developing migraine, but that association did not appear in this study.

Regarding low back pain, the authors say that its link to migraine is likely due to inappropriate muscle tension or compensatory structural adjustments of the neck or upper back muscles. Considering low education levels and high physical workloads, the authors suggested that an unhealthy lifestyle, stress, or poor education may lead to migraine. Finally, concerning migraine and alcohol, they noted that migraine sufferers are known to develop headache and migraine after drinking alcohol. It is possible that individuals prone to developing such problems typically avoid alcohol, affecting the study results in the process.

The authors say that too little is known about migraine prevention and that further research of of risk factors is important to prevent migraine.

“These results should be taken into account when migraine prevention in the general population is considered,” they wrote.

The study appeared in The Journal of Neurology Research.


How Do You Know If You Have a Migraine?

Each year, approximately 90% of the U.S. population will experience at least one headache and 13% will experience migraine. Of the 29.5 million migraine sufferers in the U.S., only 15-30% will seek medical attention.

Migraine is a serious condition that impacts our society. Each year, it is estimated that time lost from work due to headache costs the nation up to $17 billion dollars in absenteeism, lost productivity and medical expenses. Though migraine is more prevalent among women (18% of the population), the disorder affects men as well (6% of the population). Most sufferers have a family history of migraine.

Many factors trigger migraine such as stress, environmental factors, depression, or certain medication. Continue Reading


Environmental & Physical Factors

Autumn Weather

The environmental factors that can provoke a migraine are extremely variable and affect only a small proportion of migraine sufferers. Environmental factors that can trigger a migraine include a change in climate or weather (such as a change in humidity or temperature), a change in altitude or barometric pressure, high winds, traveling, or a change in routine. Other environmental triggers include a bright or flickering light (sunlight reflections, glare, fluorescent lighting, television, or movies), extremes of heat and sound, and intense smells or vapors. Continue Reading