Migraine (Headache)

Also known as: migraine headache

What is a migraine?

Migraines are a type of headache, but they are usually more extreme than your average, run-of-the-mill tension headache. The attack can last from hours to days and be so severe that it causes disabling symptoms. About 5% of children have migraine headaches by the age of 15yrs. Young boys have more migraines than girls; after puberty girls seem to be affected more often.

What causes migraine?

Migraine headaches tend to occur in families and while the exact cause of migraines is unclear, there are many “ triggers “ which cause a headache to start. These include fatigue, bright lights, weather changes, stress situations like stresses from school, family or friends, anxiety, depression changes in sleep patterns, over activity, certain foods or loud noises, changes in regular routine etc. In girls they may be associated with their periods.

What are the symptoms of migraine?

Childrens symptoms may be different to adults and a variety of symptoms can be part of a migraine headache depending on severity and age of the child. Infants may just “ head bang”. Preschool children frequently cry, are irritable, look ill, vomit and have abdominal pain. Children 5-10years of age typically present with headache, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, sensitivity to sounds or touch, sweating thirst etc. Older children have intense throbbing headaches, often more to one side of the head, and may also have nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain etc. Some migraines may cause neurological complications like weakness on one side of the body, drooping eyelid or confusion.

What are migraine care options?

Treatments depend of how old the child is, how often the migraine, how severe and the “ trigger/s” involved. Management's include education of parents and child ( where possible ) regarding “ triggers “, preventive treatments, treatments aimed at stopping the attack, symptomatic treatments and relaxation and stress management techniques.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf

This page was last updated on: 4/17/2017 4:31:50 PM


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