Although I do not have children, nor do I ever plan on having any (more on that in a later post), I know plenty of my readers are parents, work with children in some capacity, or plan on having children some day. Also, while I may have a myriad of symptoms from my chronic illnesses, thankfully, I've been spared of migraines thus far. As such, this means I'm not the most informed about living with migraines or treating them, but I know how debilitating and horrible they can be for those who get them.
As such, I present to you a guest post from a medical practitioner who specializes in headaches and migraines in children. Please read on for more information and for a helpful presentation included at the end of the post.
Note: I was not paid or compensated for sharing this information - I just want to help as many people as I can with my platform/this website and arm my readers with information. I'll also note that no matter what medical advice you come across, regardless of who it's from, it's up to you to use a critical eye when reading to determine if the information resonates with you (e.g., I don't tolerate pharmaceuticals, so whenever someone suggests them to me I know to kindly decline and search for other options).
Parents are always on the lookout for any signs that their children might be suffering, and for good reason. A strong component of the parenting instinct is to want to protect our kids from anything that might be hurting them. Unfortunately, there are some ailments that don’t come with obvious signs parents can see. In the case of migraine headaches, for example, identifying whether or not your child suffers from them is more difficult than using a thermometer to diagnose a fever.
What makes it more difficult is the fact that young children often don’t have the language to explain their symptoms. That means a child may be experiencing intense migraine pain without parents being able to do anything about it or know when to seek treatment. When it comes to migraine headaches, it’s up to parents to be detectives, looking for clues to their kids’ symptoms and understanding when to schedule a doctor’s appointment. Getting treatment for potential migraine headaches as soon as possible can help alleviate the pain for kids and make life that much easier for them.
For example, parents should be on the lookout for signs of nasal congestion, swollen foreheads, or if one eye looks puffy or swollen. When seen in conjunction with a severe headache, these may be signs of cluster headaches — intense episodes of pain that recur over the course of weeks or even months. Severe abdominal pain accompanied by vomiting or nausea may be indicators of abdominal migraine, which can be a warning sign that the child may be likely to develop migraine headaches later in life.
These and other signs of various types of migraine headaches should spur parents to visit their children’s pediatrician or a headache specialist as soon as possible. Children are 50 percent more likely to develop migraine headaches if their parents have them, so you may already know your kids’ risk of developing migraines. The following guide details many of the most common types of migraine headaches and how they affect children. Parents never want to see their children suffer, but this guide can help you understand what you’re seeing and get your kids the care they need.
Presentation courtesy of Diamond Headache Clinic
Author bio: Dr. Merle Diamond graduated with honors from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and received her medical education from Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago. She has been a part of Diamond Headache Clinic since 1989 and has contributed numerous articles to the medical literature, and has lectured extensively on various headache subjects.