Migraine -- Child

Migraine is a type of recurring headache that involves blood vessels, nerves, and brain chemicals. Sensations called auras may come before a migraine. Auras can include visual changes or numbness and tingling. There are two types of migraines:  Migraine headaches can affect a child’s performance in school, relationships with friends and family, and other factors in a child’s life.

  • Causes

    The precise reason that a child is susceptible to migraines is unknown. Factors that may play a role include:

    • Genetics and environmental triggers
    • Changes in a nerve that serves as a major pain pathway
    • Imbalance in brain chemicals, like serotonin

    Factors that can trigger a migraine include:

    • Physical exertion or too little physical activity
    • Too much sleep or too little sleep
    • Missing a meal
    • Motion sickness from traveling
    • Tiredness
    • Overuse of pain medicines

    • Being
      overweight
    • Smoking
    • Certain foods such as chocolate, citrus fruits, dairy, processed meats, or fried foods
    • Certain environmental triggers such as flashing lights, odors, loud noises, or weather changes

  • Definition

    Migraine is a type of recurring headache that involves blood vessels, nerves, and brain chemicals. Sensations called auras may come before a migraine. Auras can include visual changes or numbness and tingling. There are two types of migraines:

    • Migraine occurring with an aura (formerly called “classic”)
    • Migraine occurring without an aura (formerly called “common”)
    Migraine
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     Migraine headaches can affect a child’s performance in school, relationships with friends and family, and other factors in a child’s life.

  • Diagnosis

    The doctor will ask about your child’s symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Your child may also be given a neurological exam. The diagnosis is often based on your child's symptoms. To rule out other complications, your doctor may order imaging tests such as:

    • CT scan
    • MRI scan

    The doctor may order blood tests or other tests before starting treatment.

  • Prevention

    Since the cause of migraines is unclear, there are no steps to prevent your child's predisposition to migraines.

  • Risk Factors

    Factors that increase your child’s chance of migraines may include:

    • Sex: More common in male children than female but more common in females after puberty
    • Age: average age a child may get a migraine headache is seven years old for boys and 10 years old for girls
    • Having family history of migraines
    • Infantile colic

  • Symptoms

    Migraines occur in phases that may include:

  • Treatment

    Migraine therapy aims to:

    • Prevent headaches
    • Reduce headache severity and frequency
    • Restore your child’s ability to function
    • Improve your child’s quality of life

    Treatment options include: