Do you suffer from headaches very often? Maybe you have them every week, or every month. Although headaches can really mess up what you want to do, they probably aren’t a sign that something is badly wrong withyou.
Unfortunately, migraine is very common in children. It’s been reported in kids as young as 18 months old. About 10% of school-age children suffer from migraine. Half of all migraine sufferers have their first attack before the age of 12. Before puberty, boys suffer from migraine more often than girls. As adolescence approaches, the incidence increases more rapidly in girls than in boys. By the time they turn 17, as many as 8% of boys and 23% of girls have experienced a migraine.
Although we still don’t know what causes migraine, a combination of genetic and environmental factors are likely involved. A child who has one parent with migraine has a 50% chance of inheriting it, and if both parents have migraine, the chances rise to 75%. More than half of migraine sufferers have a close relative with the disease.
What is the difference between a headache and a migraine?
A migraine involves more than just a headache. If you have a migraine you may feel:
- really sick, and might be sick
- extra sensitive to light and noise
- you want to lie down and sleep to make it better
- that moving about, or exercising, usually makes your headache worse.
What else can happen?
You might feel dizzy or weak before the migraine. You might even have problems talking, or see patterns of lights or lines, this is called aura. Aura can be quite scary, especially the first time it happens.
If you get headaches or migraines you might also get car sick. Some children with migraine don’t get a headache at all – they just get a pain in the stomach.
Your head pain might last for an hour or it could go on for hours, sometimes days.
Keeping a diary
The best way of remembering what your headaches are like is to write down or draw what you feel when you get one.
Writing down or drawing how you were feeling before a migraine attack started is also helpful. This is because these feelings may be able to warn you in the future of a migraine attack.
These are some things you might look out for before an attack starts:
- Feeling tired
- Yawning a lot
- Wanting to eat certain foods
- Feeling cross
- Wanting to be on your own.
Can I stop it happening?
Some things can set off or ‘trigger’ a migraine. Triggers are different for everyone. Here’s a list of common triggers some children have noticed:
Make sure you have enough to drink
It can make a big difference. If you find drinking regularly helps, ask if you can drink water in class and explain why.
Do not skip meals
Food is really important for energy. Work out when is the best time to eat your breakfast and lunch. Often, it’s not what you eat but when you eat. Stick to these times even if you’re in a rush or don’t really feel hungry. If you’re with friends, don’t let it make you feel different. Stick to your routine and don’t be embarrassed by it.
You might find that you get a migraine after you suddenly run about a lot. If you exercise regularly, though, your body will get used to it and you are less likely to get a migraine.
Being at school can cause stress, which is a common trigger. Many young students will have headaches during the school year, but don’t have them during holidays. If you’re feeling under pressure or feel stressed:
- Don’t bottle it up
- Talk to a friend, a teacher, a family member or someone you trust
- Get organized – plan your days and do the important things first.
Changing your routine
Stick to a regular routine. You might notice that you get a migraine if you miss lunch one day or sleep in late or wake up late one morning.
What should I do when I get a migraine?
If you feel a migraine attack coming, the earlier you start trying to stop it the better. Firstly, tell someone about it. If you’re at school, tell your teacher.
Steps might include simple things like:
- Having a drink or eating something
- Sitting quietly or lying down
- Sleeping, even for just a few minutes can really help
- Rest when you start to feel better.
Sometimes your headaches might make you feel different from your friends. If you have to leave the class because of your headaches, or can’t meet your friends when you had arranged to, tell themwhy. With a bit of explaining, your friends can understand your headaches better, and you’ll feel better too.
Explain the pain you are going through with your head to you parents, so that they will find ways to get better treatment and try the methods to naturally soothe your pain.
Tips to parents:
- Work on what triggers migraine in your child
- Give plenty of water and make them to eat regularly
- Avoid sugary snacks and fizzy drinks
- Make them to exercise regularly
- Try to keep migraine dairy of your child
Signs and Symptoms which parents have to keep a note -
A young child with migraine may demonstrate quite different symptoms to those experienced by adults. They may suffer from,
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Dizzy spells
- Pale skin
Older children typically develop more similar adult symptoms,
- One-sided headaches
- Nausea and vomiting
- Visual disturbance, such as seeing flashing or shimmering lights
- Aversion to bright lights
- Occasionally, weakness in an arm or a leg
Migraine attacks may be triggered by stress and anxiety, or by particular food substances - some of the more common triggers are bananas, chocolates, citrus fruits and cheese. Perfumes, petrol, tobacco smoke and other inhaled substances may also trigger the attack.
Last but not the least, try to understand the migraine episodes they are going through and help them to get relieved with the help of soothing words and try natural remedies instead pain killers.
I hope this information is helpful, but it is better to take advise from a doctor for better results.