Recent clinical and population-based studies suggest that adults who were physically abused as children are more likely to experience migraine than those who were not abused.
To investigate the relationship between childhood physical abuse and migraine while controlling for age, race, and gender, in addition to the following potential confounders: adverse childhood conditions; adult socioeconomic indicators; current health behaviors; current stressors; history of physical health conditions, and history of mood and/or anxiety disorders.
Secondary analysis of the 2005 Canadian Community Health Survey was undertaken using a regional sample of 13,089 men and women from Manitoba and Saskatchewan (response rate = 83.3% and 84.1%, respectively) of which 7.4% (n = 1025) of respondents reported childhood physical abuse. A series of logistic regression models were used to determine the association between abuse and self-report of a health professional diagnosis of migraine.
Prevalence of a migraine was almost twice as high for those who reported childhood physical abuse in comparison with those who did not (17.9% vs 8.8%). The crude odds ratio was 2.27 (99% CI = 1.80, 2.86). The odds ratio of migraine was 1.77 (99% CI = 1.39, 2.25) for those who reported childhood physical abuse in comparison with those who did not when only age, gender, and race were adjusted for. When all 6 clusters of potential confounders were included in a final model the odds ratio declined but remained significant at 1.36 (99% CI = 1.04, 1.79).
This study found a stable association between childhood physical abuse and migraine that persisted when 6 clusters of potentially confounding factors were adjusted for. Future research should investigate possible mechanisms which explain the abuse-migraine association.