Children's Hospital Colorado

Management of Headaches and Migraines in Children (S1:E14)

Parents have become increasingly aware of the problems that headaches and migraines present for their children. Parents understand how debilitating these conditions can be to everyday life and they will look to their pediatrician for answers and guidance.

As a result of this increased parental awareness, pediatric primary care providers (PCPs) are likely to encounter many cases of headaches and migraines in children. Fortunately, you can generally treat these cases right in your office without the need for a specialist.

Listen to our pediatric neurology expert discuss headache and migraine treatment for children

Our guest for this interesting episode of Charting Pediatrics is Marcy Yonker, MD, and we will be discussing headache and migraine diagnosis and management in the primary care setting. We also touch on the prevalence of headaches and migraines, common triggers and the most effective treatment options for children, teens and young adults.

Dr. Yonker is the Director of the Headache Program at Children's Hospital Colorado and is a visiting professor of pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

In this episode, our experts explore:

  • The prevalence of headaches and migraines in children
  • Whether there is a differential headache diagnosis PCPs should know about
  • The best ways to approach children and teens who are struggling with headaches and migraines
  • Why PCPs should be more concerned about a child whose headache problem is shorter in duration
  • When imaging should be used, plus insights into why images and additional testing are sometimes not helpful for migraine diagnosis
  • The major criteria that necessitate imaging after a neurological examination
  • Some of the common medications prescribed for the treatment of migraine headaches in children
  • Newer headache and migraine treatments for children
  • The efficacy of natural remedies for the treatment of headaches and migraines
  • How to steer parents away from potentially ineffective treatments
  • Which comorbidities PCPs should think about when evaluating a child who presents with migraine headaches
  • Common triggers for migraines in children and teenagers
  • When PCPs should consider referring young patients to a specialist
  • The most effective, evidence-based types of migraine treatments for children
  • The influence of family history on migraine prevalence in kids and teenagers
  • The role of psychopathology in pediatric migraine diagnosis
  • When it makes sense to prescribe more aggressive interventions, such as Botox, as a migraine treatment for children
  • Unusual types of migraines and the workup that's required to determine if there is another underlying cause of the child's symptoms

Pediatric headache and migraine diagnosis and treatment at Children's Colorado

When a child or teen is suffering from headaches or migraines they will be treated by the experts in our Headache Program. Every patient receives an individualized treatment plan that addresses lifestyle, behavioral and medical issues using the most advanced therapies available. Refer a patient to Children's Colorado.