Abuse, Maltreatment and Headache

Research has shown that sexual, physical and emotional abuse create a predisposition to headache.

People suffering with migraine may have experienced abuse in early life. Significant stress occurring early in life may lead to an amplified response to stress later in life. For some, stress is the most important trigger for migraine. Migraine may also be aggravated by the depression and anxiety that so frequently follow abuse.

In managing your care, it is important that your doctor know if you are currently being abused, or have been abused in the past. If the topic of abuse is not openly discussed, the consequences can include failure of medical treatment and a continued cycle of abuse and poor physical and emotional health.

From the perspective of treating your headache, therapies that help with stress management including psychological support may be beneficial.

Talking to a counselor, speaking to an abuse advocate, or calling an abuse hotline is strongly advised. If you are currently in danger, ask for help! Place these calls from a phone where you will be safe from your abuser. If your children are being abused, inform your doctor so that this can be reported to the authorities.

Patient Resources: Sexual assault, domestic or family violence hotline 1800 RESPECT or 1800 737 732 www.1800respect.org.au

References:Abuse and Maltreatment: Their Effect on Headache, Headache 2011, American Headache Society, Schulman MD

Note: Information on this site is not a substitute for professional medical advice