What To Do If Your Child Suffers From Migraines

Though migraines are sometimes considered a problem only among adults, children and adolescents can also suffer from mild or severe migraine headaches. In children, headaches are most often associated with viral infections, flu and colds. But children can also experience tension headaches, and many people who suffer from chronic migraine headaches in adulthood first began to feel symptoms when they were adolescents.

Children and Migraines

During the grade school years, about 2 percent of children suffer from migraines, according to the Cleveland Clinic (2010). Migraines become more common as adolescence approaches, rising to about 10 percent. Migraine headaches in adolescents occur more frequently in girls.

Children and Migraines: Finding the Triggers Behind Your Child’s Migraine Headaches

If your child is experiencing migraine headaches, talk to your pediatrician about potential causes and a possible treatment plan. It may reassure some parents to know that migraine headaches resulting from brain tumors are very rare, and are usually accompanied by a number of other symptoms.

In some children, headaches can arise without apparent warning. They can be very painful, and can interfere with daily activities just as they do for some adults. It may help to have a discussion with your child about the events of the day or days leading up to the headache, so that you can help her identify any potential triggers. Try to help her remember if she was exposed to bright or flashing lights, loud noises, intense physical activity or highly processed foods. Encourage her to keep a headache diary that she can later discuss with a doctor.

Children and Migraines: What to Do When a Migraine Approaches

If your child feels a migraine coming on, have her go to a cool dark place and lie down. Place a damp cloth or a cloth wrapped ice pack on her forehead or the back of her neck. Administer any medication your child’s doctor may have prescribed and make a note of any symptoms she experiences in addition to headaches, such as nausea or muscle pain.

To accurately diagnose and treat your child, your doctor may want to conduct a physical exam; she may also want to take blood samples or images with a CAT scan or MRI.


Cleveland Clinic. (2010.) Migraines in children and adolescents. Retrieved January 15, 2011, from http://my.clevelandclinic.org/disorders/headaches/hic_migraines_in_children_and_adolescents.aspx

Family Doctor. (2010.) Migraine headaches in children and adolescents. Retrieved January 15, 2011, from http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/children/parents/common/common/757.html