Migraines are a common neurological disorder that is becoming more and more prevalent all the time. As many as 39 million men, women, and children suffer worldwide. Despite the commonality of this condition, very few funds are available for research to help people cope. In 2013, it was noted that the funding amount available for migraine research was as little as 50 cents per migraine patient!
It may be hard to imagine but children suffer from migraines as well as adults. However, the illness often goes undiagnosed in children. Here are some facts that you may want to know about migraines in kids:
- Days of school missed doubles for children who have migraines compared to those without.
- Females tend to have more migraines than males. However, boys often have more migraines than girls before puberty.
- Around 10 percent of school-age children get migraines.
- Migraines start before the age of 12 in many people.
- Babies as young as 18 months have had symptoms consistent with migraines.
- Infant colic has recently been connected to migraines. In fact, it is possible that it is an early form of a migraine.
- Migraines can be hereditary. A child with one parent who gets migraines is at a 50% risk of getting them. If both parents have migraines, the risk rises to 75%.
- By the time children reach age 17, as many as 23% of girls and 8% of boys have already had a migraine.
The symptoms of migraines in children are similar to those in adults. They may include:
- Pounding or throbbing head pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Sensitivity to touch, light, sound, and certain smells
- Mood swings
- Abdominal pain
Symptoms can be different depending on what age the child is. Here is a brief list of how migraines present in each age range:
- Infants may occasionally bang their head.
- Preschool children may appear ill and have abdominal pain, vomiting, and want to sleep. They also may be irritable, may cry or rock, and look for a dark place to rest.
- In the 5 to 10 age range, kids may complain of head pain in the front, sides, or back of the head accompanied by abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, sleepiness, tearing, swollen nasal passages, excessive thirst, edema, sweating, increased urination, and diarrhea.
- Older children and teens may have longer and more frequent headaches, a throbbing or pulsing sensation, and one-sided head pain.
Children generally have fewer migraines that are shorter in duration than adults, but they can be just as incapacitating and can hinder a child’s quality of life. Migraines can cause teens to develop what is called anticipatory anxiety, meaning they are constantly worrying about when the next migraine will hit and disrupt their life. Children with migraines often miss school and are unable to participate in weekend or after-school activities.
Sadly, chronic migraines can also affect children and teens. This means they have more than 15 migraines per month, lasting at least 4 hours. To be diagnosed, this must occur for 3 months or more in a row. Some teens report daily head pain, dizziness, sleep problems, problems concentrating, depression, anxiety, and fatigue. This condition is hard to care for and has a devastating effect on one’s life and daily activities.
To learn more about the connection between head and neck injuries and migraines and other headaches download our complimentary e-book Natural and Drug-Free Ways to End Your Migraines below.
Caring for Migraines in Children
When a child has migraines, a good rule of thumb to follow is to get them to rest, try to avoid migraine triggers, and reduce the stress they are experiencing. Family doctors will often educate families about migraines including the following:
- Explaining what migraines are to the parents and child
- Showing them the importance of regular bed times, routine meal schedules, and not overloading a child’s schedule with too many unnecessary activities
- Helping to find out what is triggering a child’s migraines and then working to avoid them while understanding that this may reduce but not eliminate migraines
- Helping a child to keep a migraine diary so as to find the source of the triggers for him or her specifically
Others suggestions to help care for migraines when they attack are:
- Getting the child to lie down in a dark, cool, quiet room and sleep
- Putting ice or pressure on the neck or head
- Try using techniques that help the child to relax
Alternative, Natural Care for Migraines
Rather than seeking medication to cover over the attacks, it is important for parents to try to address the underlying problem of migraines. A link has been seen between migraines and a misalignment in the bones of the upper cervical spine, particularly the C1 and C2 vertebrae. This is a contributing factor to migraines in both children and adults. This type of misalignment can occur quite easily as these bones are the ones that make it possible for the head to move in the many directions it does. But this also makes them susceptible to misaligning more easily than any other bone in the spine. They also have the vital job of protecting the brainstem. A misalignment can put the brainstem under pressure and compromise nervous system function as well as blood flow to and from the brain.
Here at Solara Health in Calgary, AB, we use a gentle method to help these bones to move back into place more naturally than popping or cracking the spine. This often results in the restoration of communication, blood flow, and nervous system function, leading to fewer migraines. Some see their migraines go away and not return, allowing kids to enjoy life to the fullest, as they should be.
To schedule a complimentary phone consultation with the Dr. Bohemier and Solara Health call (403) 266-2283 or just click the button below.
If you are outside of the local area you can find an Upper Cervical Doctor near you at www.uppercervicalawareness.com.