According to a new study, obese people may be at an increased risk for episodic migraine headaches. This may not only help us identify people with increased risk, but may also point us toward a greater understanding of these headaches and their causes.

A Review of Thousands

The current study, which was presented at the International Headache Conference in June, but has not yet undergone peer review and publication, looked at nearly 3700 individuals and compared their body mass index (BMI) to the incidence of headaches within the group. The study found that, in general, people with a higher BMI were more likely to experience episodic migraines, which occur less than 14 days a month.

The study also showed that the risk of migraines was significantly correlated with increased weight. People who were considered overweight due to their BMI were at a greater risk than people who had a normal weight. People who were obese had the highest overall risk of suffering from migraines.

Which Caused Which?

Although the study points to a connection between migraines and obesity, it doesn’t show us whether migraines cause obesity, obesity causes migraines, or both stem from a common cause. Here are three potential scenarios put forward by researchers:

  • People with migraines take medications associated with weight gain like amitriptyline and valproic acid
  • The release of inflammatory proteins from adipose tissue (fat) could contribute to migraine headaches
  • The problem could be in the brain: the hypothalamus controls the drive to feed and has also been shown to activate during migraines

Until we know which is the cause and which is the effect, we may not be able to use this research to lead us to more successful migraine treatments.

TMJ Treatment Is Migraine Treatment

However, we do know that TMJ treatment is at least partly effective in treatment migraines. People who undergo migraine treatment tend to experience fewer migraines, and may even see their migraines grow less intense.

To learn whether TMJ treatment can help your migraines, please contact Rice Dentistry in Irvine, California.