Abused Kids More Prone to Migraines in Adulthood

Dr. Walter Lambert, an associate professor and medical director of the child protection team at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, said that "adverse childhood events have significant long-term health risks in adulthood."

"It does not surprise me that people who reported emotional abuses would have more chronic headaches and migraines," he added.

Lambert also agreed that stress in childhood can change pathways in the brain, with neglect being the worst. Children can take only so much stress before it begins to affect their growing brain, he explained.

"As human beings," Lambert said, "we need nurturing -- both physical nurturing and emotional nurturing -- to flourish." Society needs to find ways to promote nurturing and stable environments for children to prevent maltreatment, he added.

Childhood abuse is a common problem, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In the United States, more than 3 million reports of abuse or neglect are investigated each year. Of these, more than 700,000 children are classified as victims of neglect or abuse.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more on migraine.

SOURCES: Gretchen E. Tietjen, M.D., professor and chairwoman, neurology, and director, Headache Treatment and Research Program, University of Toledo Medical Center, Toledo, Ohio; Walter Lambert, M.D., associate professor, clinical pediatrics, and medical director, child protection team, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami; January 2010, Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain

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