With careful attention to a child's complaints and behavior, pediatric migraines can be diagnosed, treated, and managed quickly and successfully.
When to Seek Medical Attention:
1. Head pain persists more than one hour and is not relieved by OTC pain medicine or a nap.
2. Head pain is combined with hours of vomiting, vertigo, or loss of appetite.
3. Head pain is associated with stiff neck, fever, lethargy, or any neurological symptoms such as paralysis, funny eye movements, difficulty speaking, or clumsiness/loss of balance.
Children Are More Likely to Suffer Migraines If:
1. One or both parents suffer from migraines.
2. Siblings or even grandparents, uncles, aunts, or cousins suffer from migraines.
3. They have suffered from a head injury or other neurological conditions such as epilepsy.
Common Migraine Triggers in Kids:
1. Weather changes
2. Lack of sleep
3. Skipping meals, particularly breakfast
4. Eating foods that contain nitrates or MSG
5. Exercise in some people (so watch for migraines during or after afterschool sports)
Tips for Avoiding Headache and Migraine:
1. Work on good sleep hygiene with kids, emphasizing consistent bedtimes, even on weekends, and same wakeup times, too.
2. Eat a healthy, well-balanced breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day, along with nutritious snacks. Avoid foods such as cured meats and hot dogs, which contain nitrates and MSG.
3. Wearing helmets when engaging in risky sports not only helps reduce the risk of serious head injury, but also of milder head injuries that can trigger migraines as well as other types of headaches.
Dr. Audrey Halpern is board-certified in headache medicine by the United Council for Neurologic Subspecialties, and in neurology by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Dr. Halpern offers unique methods for treating and preventing migraines, offering visits at Manhattan Headache and Neurology in addition to house calls. Manhattan Headache and Neurology is located at 35 East 35th Street, Suite 206, Manhattan. 646-648-3793 or www.ManhattanHeadache.com.