Abuse in childhood tied to migraines in adulthood

Abuse in childhood tied to migraines in adulthood
Emotional or sexual maltreatment linked to higher odds of serious headache, study finds.

(HealthDay)—Adults who experienced childhood abuse or neglect have a higher risk of migraine headaches, suggests a study published online Dec. 24 in the journal Neurology.

"Childhood maltreatment can have long-lasting effects, like associated medical and psychological conditions including migraine in adulthood," study author Dawn Buse, director of behavioral medicine at Montefiore Headache Center in New York City, said in a journal news release.

"When managing patients with migraine, neurologists should take into consideration," concluded Buse, who is also an associate professor in clinical neurology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.

Although the study found a link between abuse and migraine, it wasn't designed to prove that abuse could cause the headaches.

For the study, Buse and her colleagues looked at more than 8,300 people with migraines and more than 1,400 with tension headaches. Tension headaches are the most common type of adult headache, according to the researchers. Migraines are usually much more painful and can be disabling.

Study participants were asked if they had been abused as children. The three types of maltreatment asked about were sexual abuse, , or .

Emotional abuse was reported by 24.5 percent of those with migraines and 21.5 percent of those with tension headaches. The researchers found that people who experienced emotional abuse before age 18 were one-third more likely to have migraines than tension headaches. That was true even after the researchers accounted for factors such as age, sex, race, income, anxiety and depression.

Adults who were victims of and emotional neglect were also more likely to have migraines. Those who experienced two forms of abuse as children were 50 percent more likely to have migraines than those who suffered one form of abuse, the study found.


Explore further

Childhood psychological abuse as harmful as sexual or physical abuse

More information: The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about migraines.
Journal information: Neurology

Copyright © 2014 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Citation: Abuse in childhood tied to migraines in adulthood (2014, December 24) retrieved 15 July 2019 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2014-12-abuse-childhood-tied-migraines-adulthood.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

The typical predator will search for a "weak" child, I wonder if the study took into account that small thing. The people who were victimized were perhaps already prone to other medical issues such as headache. Just a thought? I want to see the numbers compared to a typical loner type child/person with no sexual abuse history. I am not in anyway downing people who have been abused. I am a survivor of sexual torture myself as a child and adolescent, I have a very inquisitive mind and used to have migraines as a child. Now I do not and am 28 years old and have been diagnosed with Asperger's, High functioning Autism and Bi-polar. How is it that I can even write this with all of these diagnosis? Take a Tylenol is my advice.

Dec 25, 2014
More generally, how about simply high levels of stress experienced as a child?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more