Posts Tagged ‘Emotional Abuse is a Risk Factor for Chronic Headaches.’

According to a study published in the Jorrnal Headache  (2010;50:32-41, http://tinyurl.com/HA-and-abuse) childhood abuse is highly prevalent and has been associated with recurrent headaches.  “Abuse is associated with many of the same risk factors for chronic migraines, including depression and anxiety, female sex, substance abuse, and obesity.  A total of 1348 migraineurs  were included.  Diagnosis of migraine with aura was recorded in 40% and chronic headache (≥15 days/month) was reported by 34%.  Prevalence of current depression was 28% and anxiety was 56%.  Childhood abuse was reported as follows: physical abuse 21%, sexual abuse 25%, emotional abuse 38%, physical neglect 22%, and emotional neglect 38%.  Physical abuse and emotional abuse and neglect were significantly associated with chronic migraines.  Emotional abuse was also associated with continuous daily headache, severe headache-related disability.  After adjusting for sociodemographic factors and current depression and anxiety, there remained an association between emotional abuse in childhood and both chronic  and  migraine headaches.  Childhood emotional abuse was also associated with younger median age of headache onset (16 years vs 19 years).  The study suggests that physical abuse, emotional abuse, and emotional neglect may be risk factors for development of chronic headache, including transformed migraine.  The association of abuse and headache frequency appears to be independent of depression and anxiety, which are related to both childhood abuse and chronic daily headache.  The finding that emotional abuse was associated with an earlier age of migraine onset may have implications for the role of stress responses in migraines.”


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