People who have suffered abuse -- physical, sexual, verbal or emotional -- as children are more likely to suffer from migraines later in life.
"We are finding an unusually high prevalence of childhood abuse in migraine patients." said Gretchen E. Tietjen, Director of University of Toledo Medical Center's Headache Treatment and Research Program
"This seems to be more than a psychological reaction to maltreatment. We are examining the idea that early abuse - no matter what kind - creates permanent changes in the neurobiological system of abused persons that may make them more prone to migraine pain," he said.
Tietjen said there is considerable preclinical and clinical evidence that chronic early life stress results in changes in the neuroendocrine system that controls reactions to stress and regulates many body processes including the immune system as well as mood, emotions, and sexuality.
The study was discussed at the American Headache Society's annual scientific conference in Washington this week.