Does My Child Have Migraine? 5 Things To Consider...
by: James Cottrill
Maybe you have migraine yourself, or someone you know does.
You start to wonder if your child is going through the same thing. They might be
complaining of headaches, or going through cycles of symptoms that are familiar
to migraine sufferers. Here are 5 things to keep in mind as you try to help your
1. Migraine can strike in children
More than half of the adult migraineurs (migraine sufferers)
report that they had their first headache as a child. Of children with migraine,
it's estimated that about a third get their first attack before the age of 5. We
know that children as young as 2 deal with migraine, and possibly even infants,
although we still don't understand exactly how infants interact with pain.
2. Don't assume your child is just looking for attention
Sometimes it's hard to tell if children are really suffering,
or if they're trying to get out of something. Some children of migraineurs may
simply imitate the behavior that they've seen in a parent. Dr Sarah Cheyette, a
pediatric neurologist and a mother herself, suggests that you not focus on the
pain but tell your child they will "feel better soon". At the same time, keep a
close watch for yourself and try to see the patterns.
3. Remember that migraine is different in everyone
We're all familiar with the headache pain that often goes
along with migraine. But sometimes migraine attacks do not involve pain at all.
Some people only see flashing lights. There's nausea. Weakness. Pain in
different areas, even the abdomen. Watch for overall patterns in your child that
may be related. Look for times when their behavior changes. When they're sick to
their stomach. It's up to you to watch for symptoms that your child may not even
realize are there.
It was a long time before I was actually diagnosed with
headaches. For a long time I just had a vague idea that I "didn't feel well" at
various times, though I couldn't really explain it. Your child may be dealing
with something similar. Write down what you observe and share it with your
4. When to contact a doctor
Contact a doctor right away if there is a sudden change in
the headaches your child is experiencing. This is especially important if your
child gets any of the following symptoms: stiff neck, fever, dizziness, problems
breathing, blurred vision, or headaches that are made worse with exertion. Your
doctor can guide you through further observation and testing.
5. Learn about the available treatments
There's no reason to panic if you think your child may have
migraine. Even if you've struggled with migraine for years yourself, treatments
for your child may be different and more effective.
Don't assume that your medication will work for your child.
Many adult drugs have not been tested for children and are not known to be safe.
The same goes for natural therapies.
However, there are very effective treatments for children.
Many common painkillers may be sufficient, as long as they're not taken too
often (in many cases twice a week should be the maximum). For many, lifestyle
changes can make a huge difference - more exercise, better eating habits, for
example. One natural treatment that seems to work very well for children is
biofeedback. When it comes to specific migraine drugs, recent trials have found
certain doses of Imitrex to be helpful for children.
Children with migraine can look forward to treatments that
were not even thought of ten years ago, and they live in a world where we have a
far better understanding of migraine every year. Migraine does not have to ruin
the life of a child, but can be an important challenge that you can help them
About The Author
James Cottrill is himself a migraineur, and is a health
http://www.relieve-migraine-headache.com. He lives with his wife,
daughter and son in Canada, under the shadow of the Canadian Rocky