The researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine have presented a study which was published in the journal Neurology, which deals with child abuse and its consequences. There have been previous studies on headaches linked with child abuse but the researchers felt the need to properly investigate into the kinds of headache a victim of child abuse could suffer from later, as adults.
For their study, the researchers analyzed the data of 9,734 adults, all volunteers of the American Migraine Prevalence and Prevention study. The results of the assessment revealed that a majority of people; 8,305 to be exact, had suffered from migraine and the rest 1,429 people suffered from tension type headaches.
These patients were asked to fill a questionnaire in 2007, called the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire, in which they had to reveal about their childhood. The questions they answered assessed the kind of abuse they had been subjected to in their childhood; if any. They were assessed for emotional abuse, emotional neglect and sexual abuse.
The researchers found that the rate of development of migraine in those patients who had suffered emotional abuse was 24.5% opposed to the 21.5% who developed tension type headaches.
Author, Dawn Buse, is a director of behavioral medicine at the Montefiore Headache Center, said “Childhood maltreatment can have long-lasting effects, like associated medical and psychological conditions including migraine in adulthood.”
The researchers also observed another trend. Those patients, who had been a victim of emotional abuse as children well under 18 years of age, were 33% more likely to develop migraine than tension type headaches.
Since childhood trauma is distressing, it invariably leaves a permanent scar on the lives of many people , it is important that a clinician keeps in his mind this little detail. The researchers also tried to figure out if these headaches could be from another source and excluding many like sex, age, depression, anxiety and income, they were confident about the constant rates of these headaches and claimed that childhood abuse was the biggest culprit.
“When managing patients with migraine, neurologists should take childhood maltreatment into consideration,” concluded Buse.