(Photo: Flickr/apdk)

A tough childhood proves to have lasting ramifications, as a new study finds that children who suffer abuse or grow up in stressful living situations are  at a greater risk of having chronic pain as adults.

Researchers looked at data from people living in 10 of the 28 countries participating in the World Health Organization World Mental Health Surveys initiative, according to the report.

“The team looked at anxiety disorders and depression in children and at the following childhood adversities: abuse, neglect, loss of a parent through death or other causes, divorce, parental substance abuse, parental criminal behavior, family violence and being poor.

Both anxiety and depression in childhood were associated with three chronic pain conditions in adulthood: osteoarthritis, chronic spinal pain (back or neck), and frequent or severe headache.”

The investigators also found physical abuse was linked to headaches, diabetes, asthma, heart disease  osteoarthritis and chronic spinal pain as the children entered adulthood.

Another study conducted by researchers at the University of Toronto found that childhood abuse was tied to cases of chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and multiple chemical sensitivities in women.

Heather Rudow is a staff writer for CT Online and Counseling Today. Contact her at hrudow@counseling.org.