Muscle tension headaches cause a sensation of tightness that completely encircles the head. The neck muscles also become sore and tight. Muscle tension headaches can be caused by prolonged use of video games or a computer, or by excessive reading and typing. About 30% of people develop a muscle tension headache 1 or 2 hours after skipping a meal. Some children get tension headaches as a reaction to stresses such as pressure for better grades.
To help ease the pain try the following:
- First: When a headache occurs, your youngster should lie down and relax. Give him an acetaminophen or ibuprofen product as soon as the headache begins. It's more effective if started early.
- Second: Stretching the neck muscles also helps relieve neck pain. Touch the chin to the shoulders, and then do it with the ears.
- Third: To prevent muscle tension headaches, children should be taught to take breaks from activities that require sustained concentration. During the breaks they can practice relaxation techniques.
- Fourth: They should also learn not to skip meals if doing so brings on headaches.
- Finally: Help your child get off the fast track.
If overachievement causes headaches, help your child lower expectations and build in some free time.
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: 6/1/2000
Copyright 1994-2008 Barton Schmitt, M.D. Parent Advice Messages.