For those who have never had a migraine, it can be difficult to explain just how debilitating they can be. Gretchen Tietjen has uncovered groundbreaking connections between migraine and stroke, as well as between childhood abuse and posttraumatic stress and migraine. She is the director of The University of Toledo Medical Center Stroke Program, established in 1994, which was the area’s first such center that now treats an average of 300 stroke patients each year.
"Childhood abuse, especially emotional abuse and neglect, is very common in the population of persons seeking help for headache. Childhood abuse is linked to high frequency of headache in adults, and to headache-related disability. Persons with migraine who have been abused are more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety and from chronic stress-related pain conditions."
"It is clear from this work that early adverse experiences influence a migraine sufferers' cardiovascular health in adulthood. Other work has shown a link between childhood maltreatment and migraine and now we know that early abuse puts these adults at a greater risk of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease.”