Children Can Suffer With Migraine Headaches From A Very Young Age
You might have a young child who is unable to explain the symptoms of a headache but frequently feels very sleepy and nauseous. If they throw up and then feel better, you should be suspicious of a migraine because some 20% of those children who suffer from migraines during childhood actually have their first migraine attack before their fifth birthday.
Signs of a migraine in young children
Preschool children experiencing a migraine attack usually look very unwell with abdominal pain, vomiting and a strong need to sleep. They may show pain by irritability, crying, rocking or seeking a dark room in which to lie down and rest. Migraines are surprisingly common in children with 5% of those under 12, and as many as 20% of those in high school, suffering from migraine headaches.
As with adults, migraines are more common in females than males but the big spike for these headaches in boys is between the ages of 10 to 12 years when they can experience as many as 2 to 3 a week. While triggers can often bring on a migraine in children, having a regular and healthy lifestyle will help to keep unwanted headaches away.
Keep to a regular routine
- Provide regular and healthy meals and snacks. Fresh fruit and vegetables should be top of the list.
- Avoid those foods that are more likely to trigger migraines such as cheese, processed meats, chocolate, caffeine, artificial preservatives and colorings and anything else that you might have identified as a trigger. Keep sugar to a minimum.
- Encourage the drinking of good plain water with absolutely no sodas and only occasional fresh fruit juices.
- Keep them on a regular sleep schedule.
- Encourage and join them in regular and as often as possible outdoors exercise. Just keep an eye on over exertion as this can be a trigger too.
Triggers that bring on migraines in some children
- Climatic changes – extreme heat and cold.
- Being tired, stressed or even depressed.
- Changes in sleeping patterns, interrupted sleep or just general sleep deprivation.
- Certain foods and especially those that contain tyramine, sodium nitrate or phenylalanine.
- Irregular meals or even hunger.
- In older children, menstrual periods or hormone fluctuations.
- Computer screens, flashing lights, fluorescent lighting, strong smells.
How to treat children with migraines
- The best treatment for migraine in children is sleep which restores normal brain function while relieving pain and other symptoms. So provide a quiet dark place for them to lie down and rest.
- From the age of 4 years, you can safely massage H-Headaches from Healing Natural Oils, made from pure essential oils, onto your child's forehead, temples and neck every 15 minutes for relief from pain. Most symptoms will start to dissipate immediately.
If concerned, it is wise to seek medical advice from your doctor who will ensure that no life-threatening underlying condition is responsible and then provide a diagnosis and a plan for for effective pain treatment.
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Migraine information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Migraine-Information-Page. (Accessed, September 13, 2021)
Bajwa ZH, et al. Acute treatment of migraine in adults. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. (Accessed, September 13, 2021)
ABC's of headache trigger management. American Migraine Foundation. https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/resource-library/abcs-of-headache-trigger-management/. (Accessed, September 13, 2021)