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Childhood Abuse Linked to Headaches in Adulthood

Researchers have discovered a correlation between adverse childhood experiences and headaches in adulthood.

According to experts, children who experience maltreatment such as emotional, physical and sexual abuse are more likely to experience frequent headaches, including chronic migraine, as adults.

Using data from the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study of 17,337 adult members of the Kaiser Health Plan in San Diego, Gretchen E. Tietjen, MD, of the University of Toledo College Of Medicine, and her team found that the number of ACEs showed a graded relationship to the likelihood of experiencing frequent headaches.

Her study was supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We looked at eight ACEs — emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, witnessing domestic violence, growing up with mental illness in the home, having household members who were incarcerated or were abusing drugs, and experiencing parental separation or divorce,” said Dr. Tietjen.

“Each ACE increased the chance of frequent headache, and as the number of ACEs increased, so did the risk of frequent headache. This ‘dose-response’ relationship’ suggests that ACEs may contribute to the development and frequency of severe headaches later in life.”

“Earlier studies have linked childhood maltreatment to frequent headaches and migraine,” said David Dodick, M.D., president of the AHS.

“The biological underpinnings of this relationship should be a target of future research and clinicians should be aware of and evaluate for this important relationship in order to facilitate appropriate management strategies.”

Source: American Headache Society

Childhood Abuse Linked to Headaches in Adulthood

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Childhood Abuse Linked to Headaches in Adulthood. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 23, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2010/06/24/childhood-abuse-linked-to-headaches-in-adulthood/14975.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.