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Children and Headaches

[28 Mar 2009 | No Comments | 8 views | Author: Dee Braun, DrR, CA, CCT]
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Children often experience headaches but as parents and guardians it is often hard to diagnose. Researchers report that between four and ten percent of children have migraine headaches. Many adult headache sufferers report they experienced headaches in early childhood. Most of them report having headaches before the age of 10. Headaches in children are nothing to be concerned with but they could be a symptom of something more serious. If the headache is interfering with their daily activities, school, or changing sleep patterns there may be cause for concern.

Headaches in children can be divided into the same two categories of an adult headache. It may be a primary headache or a secondary headache. A primary headache is one that just happens and is not a result of another underlying health problem. A secondary headache may be a side effect of a problem in another part of the body. It could be caused by a sinus infection, infection in another area, or as a side effect of a medication the child is taking.

How do you know if your childs headache is serious and you need to contact their doctor? There are a few warning signs that you should look for in your child.

* Does your child wake up in the morning vomiting without feeling sick to his or her stomach?
* Does he or she wake up from a sound sleep with a headache?
* Are your childs headaches getting worse or more frequent?
* Did your child have an injury?
* Are they telling you it is the worst headache they have had?
* Does your child have a stiff neck and a fever with their headache?
* Has your child had a personality change?

If the answer is yes to any of those questions, you should take them to see a doctor. There may be a more serious problem going on.

A child can have a tension type headache or migraines the same as an adult. A regular headache can happen often and not be connected to any other problem. If the headache is tension or stress related they would generally occur on both sides of the head and can be a moderate to severe pain. Usually a tension headache will not have any symptoms such as vomiting or nausea.

A child may also suffer from migraines. Migraines are headaches that happen every few days or even a few months apart. In children, if they are left untreated, can last for as long as 72 hours. Their headache may be throbbing or a pounding pain and can be severe or moderate. If it is a migraine, it will probably get worse if the child is up and doing any physical activity. They may also be sensitive to light and loud sounds. A childs migraine may not be helped by sleeping or taking a nap to ease pain.

A child may also have a sensory or visual problem. They may see colored spots, flashing lights, and complain of being dizzy. A childhood headache may be hereditary. If someone else in the family often has headaches or migraine headaches, your child may also.

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