Controlling Child Headaches and Migraines
It is estimated that 10% of children under the age of fifteen suffer from migraines however; this number is probably considerably higher. Migraine headaches are hard to diagnose in children because children have a hard time explaining their symptoms to their parents or doctors. As a result, more times than not, childhood migraines are written off as fatigue or crankiness. Migraines tend to run in families. If you have a family history of migraines, your child is more apt to have problems with them and you should make sure their pediatrician is aware of the family history.
It is important to note that children who experience migraines are at a higher risk of suffering problems with motion sickness and sleepwalking. Research shows that 45% suffer from motion sickness and 28% struggle with sleepwalking. Further research shows that obesity in children is linked to migraines. Children struggling with obesity suffer chronic, low level, systemic inflammation, which contributes to the inflammation of blood vessels during a migraine. Therefore, obese children are at a predisposed risk for migraines with more intensity.
Until the age of puberty, boys and girls experience migraines at an equal rate. However, once puberty sets in, a higher percentage of girls have problems with migraines. By the age of 17 it is estimated that 8% of boys and 23% of girls are inflicted with migraines. Children typically feel pain on both sides of their heads and experience pain for a shorter period of time until their teenage years, when the migraines start resembling those of adults. Childhood migraines often go away but can return later in life.
There are several different types of childhood migraines and each effect the body somewhat differently. There are also many different causes for and symptoms of childhood migraines. As with adults, a migraine diary should be kept to help pinpoint causes and triggers that lead to the symptoms and eventual attack of migraines.
When your child has a migraine, try to reconstruct the past 24 hours. Record their daily activities, the foods they ate, what the weather conditions were, any periods of stress and what caused the stress. For girls of puberty age, the dates of their menstrual cycle should be recorded as well. By doing this little bit of detective work, you can learn what triggers your child’s migraines. Helping them to avoid those things is one of the first steps to lessening the frequency of headaches and possibly preventing future episodes.