Chronic Headaches in Children and Adolescents: Diagnosis and Treatment

Chronic Headaches in Children and Adolescents

Headaches in children and adolescents can be very challenging. Not only this it can badly affect the quality of their life. Headaches in children should never be ignored. There can be major causes of headaches in children. Proper medical investigation needs to be done for such children. Headaches in children can present in various forms:

1. Migraines:

It is sad that in our country people are still not ready to believe that a child can have migraines. The fact is in majority of the cases migraine hits when you are in school or college. All chronic migraine patients when asked since how long they have been suffering from migraine, they reply that they were in school. This is the age when lot of changes are going in the body and it can manifest in the form of headaches. If headaches are ignored at this age, the intensity and frequency keep increasing and pain killers too stop working now.

2. Tension Type Headache:

This is again a common type of headache in children. It can result from stress, anxiety, poor posture. It presents in the form of dull persistent pain on both sides of the head. Children today do not take care of their posture while reading, watching TV or phone. This gives rise to tension in the muscles and majority of them experience neck pain and stiffness too.

3. Sinus Headaches:

Inflammation of the sinuses can cause headaches. But symptoms of such a headache overlap with that of Migraine. It is difficult to make out how sinus headache is different from Migraine. If it is a sinus headache, such a child will recurrently fall ill. He/she may experience a blocked nose, stuffy nose, sneezing, runny nose etc on and off. Radiological investigations suggested by a doctor can give a true picture of the sinuses.

4. Cluster Headaches:

This is a debilitating form of headache where the patient experience burning pain over head as if the head is ripping in two parts. This type of headache is less common in children though. They are more seen in adolescent age group. This pain is stabbing in nature and it usually starts behind the eye. Cluster headaches happen in cycles. They may last for months and then disappear for years. The patient thinks that it is gone but one day it shows its face again.

5. Mental Health Factors:

Children today are much stressed out than anybody else because of fast pacing world. They are overburdened with work and expectations. Stress, anxiety and depression can contribute to headaches in children and adolescents. This should not be ignored. It is essential to consider child’s emotional well being and it should be evaluated.

6. Medication Overuse:

If a child has headache and he/she keeps on taking painkillers more often, they can experience rebound headaches. Painkillers for headaches are a no answer to it and they should be completely avoided.

7. Lack of Sleep:

Lack of sleep or inadequate sleep is a principal reason for headaches in children. They tend to sleep late and get up early due to school hours. If they do not have a proper sleep of 7-8 hours, very likely they will start experiencing headaches.

8. Skipping Meals:

Children In a hurry to rush to school or college, skip breakfast and so do they during school time. This can give rise to hypersecretion of acid and the child can get gastric headaches.

What should you do if your Child Complains of Headache?

Once or twice in a month headache is not alarming and if it gets resolved with simple home remedies. But yes, if headaches keep increasing, the intensity of pain keeps rising than you should wait and think what if this is Migraine.

The first thing to do is get an eye check-up for your child. If vision is ok then you can start noticing at what time of day your child usually complains of headache. Usually, children once they return from school complain of headache. They must have had sport class in school, they must have played out in sunlight which increase Vayu in the body. We have had many children with migraine who were into sports and after their activity be it running, be archery, be playing badminton their headache would increase. So, this is a thing to mark so that if you go to an Ayurveda consultant you can point it out. Best treatment for migraine headaches is when you touch the root cause of the disease.

The next important thing to take care many children commute to school by bus, van and that too empty stomach. This can give headaches so it should be avoided.

One more simple thing to take care: Do not wake up the child from deep sleep.

We had a 15-year-old badminton player girl who was getting trained in Hyderabad academy. She visited me with history of bad headaches from the past 2 months. When we spoke to the parents about her lifestyle, we could make out that every evening her mother would wake her up from a deep nap and she would be back in the academy for practice just 15 minutes after waking up from deep slumber. So, this can give rise to headache when happening on a daily basis. Migraine patients say that if they are sleeping and a door bell suddenly rings then headache is bound to hover them.

What should be your Approach if a Child Complains of Headache?

If a child or adolescent is experiencing chronic headaches, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional. The evaluation may include a thorough medical history, physical examination, and possibly imaging studies. Keeping a headache diary that includes information about the frequency, intensity, and potential triggers can be helpful.

Treatment approaches may include lifestyle modifications, stress management, identifying and avoiding triggers, medication and addressing any underlying medical or psychological issues. People are now exploring Ayurvedic treatment for Migraine but there are no dedicated centres for it. This is what makes us different. We have best doctor for headache who takes time in digging out the entire history of the patient.

Treatment of Children and Adolescents with Headaches

The treatment of migraines in children involves a combination of lifestyle modifications, acute treatment for relief during an attack, and preventive measures to reduce the frequency and severity of migraines. It’s important for parents to work closely with healthcare professionals to develop an appropriate treatment plan for their child.

Ensure that your child gets an adequate amount of sleep

Ensure that your child eats regular and balanced meals

1. Identify Triggers:

Help your child identify and avoid potential migraine triggers, common triggers are certain foods, stress, lack of sleep, bright lights, loud noises

2. Prevention of Migraine Attacks:

People generally believe that migraines cannot be prevented. Whenever there is an attack, you have to pop up a painkiller. But ayurvedic medicines are effective in preventing the migraine attacks. In initial stages of migraine, it is easy to treat whereas chronic headaches treatment takes more time. So, headaches should not be sidelined and should be paid attention to in detail.

We have treated good number of children and adolescents with headaches. As young as 7-year-old boy with vascular headache has been successfully treated with Ayurveda medicines. The pain over head is so severe and intense that the child slowly and gradually tries to shun away from various activities. Because of severe headaches, there are children are not able to go to school. These headaches should not be ignored. No amount of pain killers is going to decrease the number of episodes of migraine. With Ayurvedic medicines like Brahmi, Yashtimadhu, Godanti Bhasma, Shankhpushpi, Ashwagandha, we have cured difficult migraines. This is why it is considered best treatment for Migraine.

It’s crucial for parents to communicate openly with the treating doctor of our team and follow their guidance for managing migraines. Regular follow-up appointments may be necessary to monitor the effectiveness of the treatment plan and make adjustments as needed.

The thing is proper evaluation of the child has to be done which is done by the experienced doctors here. If a child’s migraines are severe, persistent, or significantly impacting their quality of life, time to get it treated at Migraine Upkram.