Headaches in children are far more common than most parents realize. But how can one distinguish between a run of the mill headache and something more chronic and painful like a migraine?
If you have followed my blog, you know that my oldest daughter suffered for over 7 years with many unexplained symptoms – chronic sinusitis, constant headaches, recurrent asthma, and chronic (albeit not life threatening) infections.
During these years I visited MANY doctors and specialists, all in the quest to “fix” my child who was suffering. And in all of these years, one of her most constant complaints (and one of the hardest for me to address medicinally) were her headaches.
In the end, Hannah’s headaches were all directly related to an anatomical issue that was resulting in a never ending sinus infection.
But if your child is dealing with headaches that come and go, or recur more often than you think you should, this information from The Diamond Headache Clinic will be invaluable.
Common Types of Migraine Headaches and Symptoms: What Kind Does Your Child Have?
Migraine headaches can be some of the worst pain imaginable, and for children it can be even worse.
Although children as young as 2 years old can suffer from migraines, they are most common among adolescents and teenagers. To make matters worse, the pain children can suffer due to a migraine headache can make parents feel helpless and frustrated about how they can help their children feel better.
Understanding how migraine headaches affect children can be helpful for parents in getting their children the relief they need.
In some cases, a migraine may not even be a headache at all. Instead, pain in the abdomen or vomiting may be an indication that your child will suffer from migraine headaches later in life. Although migraines can be extremely painful for children and their parents, understanding the problem is an important first step toward relief.
Migraines can be triggered by many factors, including allergies, stress, sleep habits and low blood sugar.
Children who suffer from migraines may become withdrawn, moody, aggressive or suddenly uninterested in certain activities like reading or playing outside.
Although migraine symptoms in children might manifest themselves in ways that are very similar to migraines suffered by adults — including intense pain, nausea and sensitivity to light and sound — they may be different.
In children, migraine headaches may only last an hour or two, and they may be far less frequent than in adults. Children who complain of migraine headaches tend to experience pain across their entire foreheads, as opposed to only on one side of their heads. However, this changes as the child gets older and becomes more unilateral.
Parents should watch their children and note any sudden changes in their routine, as these may indicate the child is experiencing a sudden sensitivity to light and/or sound.
WHAT IF IT’S A MIGRAINE BUT THERE’S NO HEADACHE???
Younger children suffering from migraine symptoms may not experience headaches at all.
Abdominal migraines primarily affect children between ages 5 and 9. They are characterized by moderate-to-severe abdominal pain that can last up to 72 hours, as well as nausea, vomiting and pallor of the skin.
Adolescents — primarily boys — may begin to experience cluster headaches around age 10. Cluster headaches commonly feature pain behind one eye, along with swelling and nasal congestion.
Although a migraine diagnosis can be devastating for children and their parents, there are many treatment options available for children who suffer from migraines.
These options include medication, lifestyle changes and biofeedback therapy. In most cases, these have proven effective at reducing migraine symptoms and allowing children to keep their normal routines as much as possible.
If you suspect your child might suffer from migraine headaches, review the presentation below and make an appointment to see your pediatrician.
No parent wants to watch a child suffer through a debilitating migraine headache or other migraine symptoms, but it is possible to receive treatment and bring children some measure of relief. Knowing what to look for and how to talk to your child about it is the best place to start.
This children’s migraine headaches and symptoms presentation was created by Diamond Headache Clinic.