Childhood May Be To Blame for Chronic Headaches

May 17, 2012

Gazing at our wrinkles and blemishes in the mirror, we realize that we are paying the price for the countless hours we spent sunbathing at the beach in our younger days.  But remember, we chose to slather on baby oil, defy our parents and go for the ‘savage tan’.  Sadly, many children experience traumatic events in their childhood, over which they had no control.  The price they pay as adults is immeasurable.

A new study out of Ball State University, published in The American Headache Society’s April edition of Headache shows that inflammatory diseases in some women, including migraines and strokes may be linked to adverse childhood experiences.  While the results don’t indicate whether the negative effects can be reversed, a migraine procedure could provide a solution for ending the pain associated with migraine disease.

Jagdish Khubchandani, a professor in Ball State’s Department of Physiology and Health Science and a faculty fellow with the university’s Global Health Institute, co-authored the study.  He said “Our research found there were higher levels of blood abnormalities– also known as biomarkers — with chronic daily headaches and migraines in adult females who self-reported suffering some sort of abuse or negative event at a younger age.”

Approximately 140 women between the ages of 18 and 50 were asked to complete a questionnaire about adverse childhood experiences including abuse (emotional, physical or sexual), neglect (emotional or physical) and exposure to household dysfunction (violence, parental substance abuse, mental illness, criminal behavior, parental separation or divorce).

The Ball State data revealed a strong correlation between childhood adversity and migraines, chronic daily headaches and inflammation that leads to strokes.  About 79% of women with migraines compared with 21% of headache-free women reported childhood adversity.  Khubchandani said. “Since migraines are a major risk factor for strokes, we may have potentially found a cause for what could be a debilitating health event for many people. The evidence supporting the biologic plausibility of this theory is growing.”

A migraine procedure could go a long way in providing long-term relief from the painful symptoms of a migraine condition for many of these women.  Perhaps future research will reveal whether migraine procedures could also lessen the overall inflammatory effect on a woman’s body from frequent migraine attacks.

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