Migraine headaches occur in 5% of school-age children and 8% of adolescents. If your child has 2 or more of the following features, he probably has migraines.
- First: The headache is excruciating and incapacitating. During it, your child doesn't want to talk or watch TV.
- Second: Some children may have an aura. This starts 10 to 20 minutes before the headache, and consists of dizziness or changes in vision.
- Third: Most children have nausea or vomiting.
- Fourth: Migraines are inherited. Some of your close relatives probably have them.
Let's turn to the treatment of migraine headaches.
- First: The most reliable intervention for migraines is to sleep it off. Encourage your child to lie down in a dark and quiet room. In 3 hours, he will probably awaken recovered.
- Second: If your child’s doctor has prescribed a specific medication for migraines, give it as directed as soon as the migraine starts. The best OTC drug for migraines is ibuprofen. The earlier a medicine is taken, the better it works. For the 80% of children who vomit with their migraines, medicines can be given by injection or nasal spray.
- Third: Recent research has shown that the frequency of migraine headaches can be cut in half by daily relaxation exercises. Buy your child an audio tape on deep relaxation and help him learn to use it, for 10 minutes, twice a day.
- Finally: Be sure to keep a headache diary to help you identify any factors that your child might be able to avoid. Some triggers that can bring on a migraine are sleep deprivation, bright sunlight, eyestrain, skipping a meal and stress.
If you have other questions about migraine headaches, consult your healthcare provider.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D. FAAP
Last Review: 6/1/2008
Last Revised: 9/1/2004
Copyright 1994-2008 Barton Schmitt, M.D. Parent Advice Messages.