According 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.