Link Between Unresolved Trauma and Migraine

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Key Questions
  • Why is childhood abuse or maltreatment such a big problem?
  • How common are adverse childhood experiences?
  • What are the different kinds of childhood trauma, and how do they affect individuals later in life?
  • Are either men or women more likely to be affected later in life by childhood trauma?
  • Is migraine more common in adults who have experienced some type of childhood trauma?
  • What are some of the short- and long-term effects of stress, in terms of how it affects brain structure?
  • Do childhood traumas predispose individuals to chronic migraine as adults?
  • Is it helpful for doctors to know if their patients suffered childhood trauma or abuse?
  • What is the best treatment for someone who has had an adverse childhood experience?
Interview Notes
Gretchen Tietjen

Gretchen Tietjen, MD

Neurologist and Headache Specialist
University of Toledo Medical Center

Dr. Gretchen Tietjen is professor and chair of neurology at the University of Toledo, and director of the University of Toledo Medical Center Headache Treatment and Research Program and Stroke Program. The UTMC Stroke Program, established in 1994, was the area’s first center, and today treats an average of 300 stroke patients each year. Dr. Tietjen has been the recipient of both the Harold G. Woolas Lecture for Headache Research at the American Headache Society Conference and the American Headache Society John R. Graham Lecture Award.

She specializes in headache medicine and vascular neurology, and has uncovered groundbreaking connections between migraine and stroke, as well as between childhood abuse, post-traumatic stress, and migraine. Her research also includes migraine as a risk factor for stroke and cerebrovascular disease. Dr. Tietjen graduated from the University of Michigan medical school in 1984 and has more than 30 years in practice.

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