Migraines are common in children; in fact, about70% of the adults who experience them say they first got them when they were children.
There are numerous causes of migraines including: stress, bad posture, eyestrain, sitting too long, bright lights, lack of sleep, poor diet, too much caffeine, travelling on an airplane or boat, and so on.
If you have emotional stress in your family, this can cause migraines as well. For example, if a child hears the parents arguing all the time, that can cause emotional upset, which often times leads to a migraine. There might be arguments or bullying at school and that can also cause migraines.
Migraines are frequently genetic. The child may suffer from them because one or both parents have them. If a child is sick, that can trigger a migraine as well.
School is a major cause of migraines. Children and teens have to do tests, exams and assignments and meet deadlines frequently. They are commonly in competition with friends and rivals, and that may cause anxiety and stress which lead to migraines. Poor marks at school can trigger a negative reaction by parents, and often times this is enough to cause serious migraines.
Depression and anxiety can trigger migraines as well. A change to a routine can be enough to cause a migraine. Even a weather change can bring on a migraine. Perhaps the child is living in a foster home with other children who are disruptive. That can easily increase the likelihood of a migraine.
Symptoms can vary, as there are different types of migraines. But 95% of migraines fall into two categories. The most common type doesn’t have an “aura” present. 70-85% of migraines fall into this category. Then you have a migraine with an “aura”, where your vision can go blurry or become distorted. You may see spots or flashing, bright colors. You may have trouble speaking properly or your senses may be affected. Auras usually last for 20 to 30 minutes.
Other common symptoms, apart from the ones already mentioned, include:
- Vomiting uncontrollably or often, sometimes as long as 24 hours.
- Muscle contractions in one side of the neck, causing the head to tilt.
- Pale skin.
- Light sensitivity.
- Heightened sensitivity to sound, especially loud noises.
- Loss of appetite.
- Abdominal pain.
- Mood swings.
- Pounding head. In children it’s usually in both sides of the head.
- Loss of balance when walking or even sitting.
There are numerous forms of treatment. The most common way is with medication. The strength of the medication will vary depending on the age of the child, of course. Going to bed in a dark, quiet room and trying to sleep it off is recommended.
It is essential to find the cause and stop it from recurring. For example, if the child isn’t sleeping enough or if he or she is eating the wrong food, that is usually much easier to fix in comparison with other causes like emotional stress.
It is vital to see a doctor if your child has an ongoing migraine; this way, the cause can be found and treated, thus preventing the migraine from coming back.