First off our kiddos should not get headaches or migraines they are in no means normal, but they can be common. This overview should help to provide more understanding to what these headaches are. I have seen frustrated parents bring their kids in only after they have had x-rays and MRI’s that have came back “negative” and hear them say their tests are normal, but something is not right.
Migraine is a moderate-to-severe headache that lasts from 2 to 48 hours and usually occurs two to four times per month. Migraine, also called an acute recurrent headache, occurs in about 3% of children of preschool children, 4% to 11% of elementary school-aged children, and 8% to 15% of high school-aged children. In early childhood and before puberty, migraine is more commonly seen in boys than girls. In adolescence, migraine affects young women more than young men. As adults, women are three times more likely to have a migraine than men.
WHAT TYPES OF MIGRAINE OCCUR IN CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS?
There are two main types. A migraine without an aura (called common migraine) occurs in 60% to 85% of children and adolescents who get a migraine. A migraine with an aura (called classic migraine) occurs in 15% to 30%. In young children, migraine often begins in the late afternoon. As the child gets older, migraine often begins in the early morning. (source)
WHAT CAUSES HEADACHES IN CHILDREN AND TEENS?
Most kids get them because of an illness, infection (like a cold), or a fever. For example, sinusitis (inflammation of the sinuses) and infections of the throat or ear can trigger headaches.
Migraine headaches are a different story. Doctors don’t know exactly what causes them, but they do know they’re linked to changes in the brain.
About 7 out of 10 kids who have migraine have a mom, dad, or sibling with a history of them. Similar things — like fatigue, bright lights, and changes in weather — might even trigger their attacks.(source)
How to treat migraine in children
Two of the most effective classes of medications available for acute migraine treatment are:
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs): Examples are ibuprofen and naproxen sodium. These medications decrease the inflammatory process, and their effectiveness may be enhanced by taking them in conjunction with caffeine.
Triptans/ergots: These medications interrupt the chain of physiologic events that generate and sustain a migraine attack. The triptan group includes tablets and nasal sprays, as well as injectable forms. Dihydroergotamine is available in nasal spray or injectable.
It’s important to remember that children and adolescents should limit acute pain treatment to two days a week. If your child needs abortive medication more frequently, notify their provider. Just as adults can transition from frequent episodic to chronic daily headache, so can children. This is why it is important to monitor your child’s frequency of migraine, use of acute medication, and the response to treatment.
It should also be noted that opiates or narcotics are discouraged for use in pediatric migraine treatment.
Preventive Lifestyle Adjustments
Increasing hydration: eight to 12 glasses of water per day.
Sleep hygiene: eight to 10 hours of sleep at night, going to bed and waking up at the same time every day.
Eating regular meals: Three meals daily at regular intervals, focusing on foods that are low in fats and sugars while emphasizing vegetables and protein.
Taking regular breaks in a busy schedule
Being more active/ Exercise: 30-60 minutes/day most days of the week (preferably aerobic conditioning—e.g., outside play, jogging, swimming and cycling).
Reducing frequent rescue medication use. (source)
HOW CHIROPRACTIC CAN HELP
A chiropractic treatment for a child begins with a nurologic examination and computer testing to determine the issue and the best route for treatment. Even if your child is too young to communicate, or too shy, a chiropractor has the skills to work with them to find out exactly what is going on before proceeding with care, if it is determined care is needed. Gentle and non-invasive adjustments are then made to the nervous system.(source)
Dr. Mooberry is a Denver chiropractor and is well versed in helping children and adults with headaches and migraines get their life back and provide valuable information to help the parents understand what is going on with their child.