Childhood Migraine: Symptoms And Treatment

Migraines in children are debilitating and can interfere with their daily tasks. This condition is even the cause of poor academic performance. How to recognize it?
Pediatric migraine: symptoms and treatment

Childhood migraine is very common and can occur at any age. According to statistics from the Migraine Research Foundation, about 10% of school-age children suffer from migraines and up to 28% of adolescents between the ages of 15 and 19.

This type of headache is often debilitating and can get in the way of your daily activities. For children, this can cause some negative effects that lower both their academic performance and the social aspect.

How exactly does childhood migraine manifest itself and what can you do when you recognize it in your baby? You will learn the answers to these questions by reading this article.

While children generally have fewer seizures than adults, migraines can interfere with their daily activities just as much. If it is not treated properly, it can even significantly affect a child’s quality of life.

What are the symptoms of a childhood migraine

There are two forms of migraine: episodic, which occurs intermittently, and chronic migraine. Below, we explain in more detail what typical migraine attacks look like. However, we need to clarify that they may differ from those described in adults.

Sometimes, due to their age, it will not be easy for children to identify what they are experiencing and it will be even harder to put it into words. Pediatric migraine is moderate to severe in severity and is associated with other symptoms.

A migraine attack develops through a series of events that take place over several hours or days. A typical migraine attack without an aura goes through three phases; premature phase, headache phase and post-migraine phase.

Premature phase symptoms include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain behind one eye or ear
  • Pain in the temples
  • The sensation of seeing spots or flashing lights.
  • Sensitivity to light or sound.
  • Temporary loss of sight
  • Pale or dark circles under the eyes.
  • Mood changes for no reason.

These symptoms may appear hours or even a day before the pain phase begins. Pain generally affects the head on both sides, unlike in adults, where it is only on one side of the head. It can be sharp and make it difficult to perform daily tasks.

Children's migraine
Migraine attacks in children can be as difficult as they are in adults.

Aura attacks

An attack accompanied by an aura will be an additional phase that may occur before or simultaneously with the headache. As an aura unfolds, it is usually visual in nature, for example in the form of sparkles in front of the eyes. Young children may not be able to express this type of headache.

Thus, the symptoms perceived by caregivers include pallor, decreased activity and vomiting. The post-migraine phase, on the other hand, will be exhausted.

In addition to physical symptoms, some children may also experience anxiety. The child is afraid that another painful attack will soon follow. This situation is called anticipatory anxiety, and it reduces your ability to concentrate when you are not in pain.

A small percentage of children have a form called chronic migraine, which we mentioned earlier. Chronic childhood migraine is defined as pain that occurs 15 or more days per month, lasts longer than 4 hours each time and for more than 3 months.

Child migraine – treatment

Patients usually want to lie down in a quiet, dark room and seek relief from sleep. Useful medications for treating acute migraine include popular pain relievers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen, and even triptans.

However, it may be necessary to try different medications to find the most effective treatments for each patient. The sooner a patient is given drugs, the more effective they will be.

Therefore, this should be done as soon as migraine symptoms first appear, without waiting for it to develop. Sometimes an antiemetic is also effective.

Currently, there is no real cure for migraine because its pathophysiology is not yet fully understood. Tracking your personal migraine triggers can provide useful information to avoid seizures. This may include:

  • Dietary considerations
  • Hydration of the body.
  • Suspension of certain medications.
  • Establish a regular sleep schedule.
A child with a migraine
Providing children with a good rest is critical to relieving migraines.

General thoughts

Child migraine becomes a cause of anxiety in both the youngest and their parents and caregivers. Therefore, it is always suggested to visit a doctor in order to establish an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Ensuring your child gets enough sleep and exercise, as well as providing a complete and varied diet, will also help prevent migraine attacks.

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