Childhood migraines, causes and how to prevent them

It is estimated that 10% of children who go to kindergarten and up to 50% of those who go to secondary education, suffer or have suffered its effects.

Although less common, children also suffer from migraines. The few hours of sleep, the abuse of computer, television and video game use are among the main causes of childhood migraines . Child stress and the ingestion of certain foods or drinks are also the causes of the increasingly frequent headaches.

What are childhood migraines

Migraine is a type of headache that can be severe and disabling. Its origin is multifactorial and is usually hereditary. People who suffer from it, usually have a family history with the same problem.
If our child complains that his head hurts, we should pay attention to him. Your pain may be related to a physical problem or an emotional problem . If the pain is intense, does not remit and does not seem to be related to any other illness or physical discomfort, it is indicated to go to the pediatrician. Recognizing symptoms and treating a childhood migraine early will help alleviate the child’s pain.

How they manifest

Headaches occur mainly on the top and on both sides of the head. It is also common for children with migraines to also suffer from dizziness , nausea, vomiting, and / or stomach pain. Likewise, it is usually accompanied by a hypersensitivity to light, noise and odors. The duration of migraine is very relative, being able to be only a few minutes (the most common) a few hours or even in more extreme cases whole days .

Causes of childhood migraines

Migraine is a neurological disorder that occurs outside of the skull. The muscles that cover the head become inflamed, contracting the blood vessels that reach the brain. The brain, therefore, receives less blood and less oxygen and this affects the circulating nerves that send pain messages to the brain and this causes migraine.
The main situations that can trigger migraines in children are:

  • Lack of sleep and tiredness.
  • Abusive use of television, consoles, tablets and computers.
  • Stress or anxiety
  • Excessive consumption of caffeinated soft drinks.
  • A poor diet or skipping a meal.
  • Hormonal or menstrual changes
  • Vision problems.
  • Loud noises and odors that are too intense.
  • Dehydration
  • Side effects of any medication.

Prevention of childhood migraines

The childhood migraine is becoming one of the most common diseases among children. As in many other diseases, good habits can significantly alleviate its effects. It is important to lead a balanced life that translates into sleeping the hours you need, eating at set times without skipping any intake, eating healthy by limiting the consumption of caffeinated beverages and foods rich in fat, and making responsible use of computer and television .
A child with migraines can affect his school performance and his physical and motor skills. If the child is taking any kind of medicine the side effects of the same should be consulted with the doctor.
It is estimated that 10% of headaches are caused by other disorders such as vision problems, ear infections, flu and urinary infections.

How is it treated

Headaches can begin to manifest themselves in various ways: hypersensitivity to light or noise, indisposition, upset stomach, nausea, or the urge to vomit. Disorientation, muscle weakness, loss of coordination, blurred vision are also symptoms that often precede migraine. These symptoms usually appear 15 to 20 minutes before the migraine .
If the pain is not very strong and does not interfere too much with the child’s activity, it is not necessary to resort to medication. In many cases it is sufficient to let it rest for a few minutes, preferably in a cool, dark and quiet place. Applying a compress at room temperature on the forehead or above the eyes is usually of great help.
In case of having to resort to drugs , doctors cannot prescribe:

  • Pediatric analgesics: medicine to calm or eliminate pain such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, avoiding acetylsalicylic acid.
  • Medicines to reduce nausea or vomiting.
  • Sedatives that depress the central nervous system (CNS) to relieve pain and help you fall asleep.

The good news is that age is the best migraine palliative. With the arrival of puberty, migraines usually disappear.
Food plays an important role in treating migraine headaches. Therefore, let’s avoid overconsuming industrial pastries, trinkets, cured cheeses, etc. Better eating habits can reduce childhood migraines.
It is also very important that children are not overloaded with extracurricular activities, letting them get a little bored, as it helps them to be calmer and less prone to migraine.

What you should know…
  • Paying attention to the child with a headache is important, as it may respond to a physical or emotional problem.
  • Lack of sleep, use of mobile devices, stress or consumption of certain foods or drinks are behind many childhood headaches.
  • It is important to sleep the hours you need, eat well and at fixed times, limit foods rich in fat and make responsible use of the computer and television.

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