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Childhood Mistreatment Linked to Issues With Migraine

Last Updated: January 07, 2010.

A history of childhood mistreatment is common in individuals with migraine, and childhood abuse and neglect are associated with chronic headaches and likelihood of comorbid pain conditions, according to a series of studies in the January issue of Headache.

THURSDAY, Jan. 7 (HealthDay News) -- A history of childhood mistreatment is common in individuals with migraine, and childhood abuse and neglect are associated with chronic headaches and likelihood of comorbid pain conditions, according to a series of studies in the January issue of Headache.

Gretchen E. Tietjen, M.D., of the University of Toledo College of Medicine in Ohio, and colleagues analyzed data from 1,348 migraineurs treated in 11 outpatient headache centers who responded to the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire and other tools to evaluate for depression, anxiety, comorbid conditions and other concerns. Childhood trauma -- including physical, sexual, or emotional abuse -- or neglect was reported by 58 percent. The first study found that all types of trauma were associated with current depression and anxiety.

In the second study, the authors found that emotional abuse in childhood was associated with chronic migraine and migraine that had transformed from episodic to chronic (odds ratios, 1.77 and 1.89, respectively) and was associated with younger age of headache onset. In the third study, emotional abuse and physical neglect were associated with a higher number of pain conditions (odds ratios, 1.69 and 1.73) such as irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia and arthritis.

"Although depression and anxiety are related to childhood maltreatment and to chronic frequency, the association of emotional abuse and chronic migraine/transformed migraine is independent of these psychiatric disorders. The finding that emotional abuse was associated with an earlier age of migraine onset suggests a possible role in migraine pathophysiology," the authors conclude in the second study.

Abstract - Study 1
Full Text - Study 1 (subscription or payment may be required)
Abstract - Study 2
Full Text - Study 2 (subscription or payment may be required)
Abstract - Study 3
Full Text - Study 3 (subscription or payment may be required)


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