When Children get Migraines- Pediatric Migraine Headaches

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At what age did you get your first migraine headache?  People don’t usually associate migraines with children, but they can get nerve-rattling migraine attacks, too. If fact, 20% of chronic headache patients say they started having severe headaches before their 10th birthdays. So, how common are pediatric migraines?


A headache is a headache is a headache…

Not true.  Tension headaches are caused by stiff contracted muscles in the neck, shoulders, jaw, and upper back.  Tension headaches can happen with stress and poor posture.  About 15% of children 15 and under suffer from tension headaches resulting from stress over exams, family discord, peer pressure, or life changes.

Other causes of tension headaches in children are lack of sleep, eyestrain, and muscle pain from sitting in an unnatural position for lengthy periods while texting or playing video games.

Sinus headaches are also common in childhood.  Symptoms of a sinus headache are head pain in the cheeks, forehead, temples, and nose.  Other accompanying symptoms of sinusitis may be ear infection, sore throat, mucus discharge, runny nose, cough, and fever.

About 5% of all adolescents experience pediatric migraine headaches, and 90% of them inherited migraine disorder from a parent.  Like adults, children who suffer migraines are affected by migraine triggers like bright lights, strong odors, food ingredients, weather changes, and irregular sleeping and eating habits.


Migraines and other Types of Headaches- How many are there? Part 1

Why go to a headache specialist?

Even if your child’s migraines are relieved by OTC painkillers, you should still consider taking him to a neurologist or other doctor who specializes in migraine disorder for a diagnosis.

  • It’s unlikely that your child has a brain tumor, but it’s important to rule this out with chronic headaches.
  • WHEN CHILDREN GET MIGRAINES- PEDIATRIC MIGRAINE HEADACHES, MIGRAVENTYour child will have the sense of satisfaction from knowing that his needs are being addressed.
  • You will be privy to the most recent information about migraine treatments, like side effects that occur with NSAID’s, which natural ingredients for migraines work best and other helpful coping mechanisms for migraine patients.
  • By tracking your child’s progress in a migraine diary and sharing it with his doctor, you improve his chances of reducing the frequency and severity of migraine attacks.
  • With a migraine diagnosis, you will be in a better position to be your child’s migraine advocate at school. It’s important that his teacher and principal understand that his migraines are not typical, common headaches that can be treated with a few aspirin, but a symptom of a neurological disorder that may cause excruciating head pain, eye pain, severe nausea, vomiting, and weakness.

What kind of Doctor should I see for Migraines? Headache Specialists

What migraine treatments are available for children?

Your doctor may prescribe one of many migraine drugs that are available to treat migraine disorder, based on the frequency of her migraine attacks, whether or not she gets migraines with aura, and the level that migraines interfere with her life at school and at home.  Migraine treatments for children may include painkillers, abortive, and preventive medications.

Drugs that Prevent or Stop Migraine Attacks, plus Side Effects: Part I, Pain Relief

Additionally, alternative medicines for migraines are a popular option:

  • Biofeedback: Biofeedback involves using small devices to gauge your breathing, pulse, heart rate, temperature, muscle tension, and brain activity to teach you how to control involuntary pain triggers.
  • Acupuncture: Many chronic pain patients have found relief with Chinese acupuncture, which uses strategically placed needles to trigger pain-killing endorphins.
  • Nutritional supplements: More parents use natural ingredients like herbs, vitamins, and minerals in promoting neurological health in their children with migraines. Popular natural ingredients include magnesium, butterbur, riboflavin, and coenzyme Q10.


Please tell us:

  • If your child suffers from migraines, what treatment option has proved the most successful?
  • Would you consider weaning her off of OTC medications in favor of natural supplements?
  • Do migraines affect your child’s school grades?

If you know of anybody who suffers from migraines, do them a favor- share this article!


Headaches and Migraines in Kids, Children – WebMD

Pediatric Migraine Medication

Young Migraine Sufferers Guide for Parents- The Migraine Trust

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o5com, Caitlinator, Pink Sherbet Photography, PictureYouth .