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Repeated episodes of headache and muscle cramp were hypothesized to contribute to increased patient perceptions of illness intrusiveness and to compromised quality of life. Standard measures of pain, illness intrusiveness, and quality of life were obtained on 2 occasions, each 6 weeks apart, from 100 end-stage renal disease patients. The impact of recurrent muscle cramps on perceptions of illness intrusiveness was conditional upon the occurrence of headache symptoms. Perceptions of illness intrusiveness were significantly higher when both muscle cramp and headache symptoms occurred during one or more assessment intervals as compared to when muscle cramps or headaches, only, occurred. Illness-related concerns and general feelings of pessimism were also significantly higher among patients who experienced recurrent episodes of muscle cramp. Although no direct relations were observed between pain and other quality of life indicators, previous research has documented a relation between illness intrusiveness and quality of life. Recurrent pain problems, thus, appear to contribute to increased illness intrusiveness and to reduced quality of life in end-stage renal disease patients.