NORFOLK - Every parent worries when their child doesn't feel well and frequent headaches can be cause for concern. But don't assume the worst. You still should take headaches seriously, especially if the pain is intense and migraines run in your family.
Tip 1: Youngsters’ most common head pains are migraine and tension headaches.
The pain can be throbbing pain in the forehead area or generalized, pressure like
• Tiredness, stress, pressure at home or school, or conflict with parents or friends can trigger migraine and tension headaches. They may keep coming until the underlying issue is resolved.
• Don’t overuse medicine because it can worsen the headaches sometimes. To ease the pain:
-Apply an ice pack
- Have your child practice slow deep breathing
- Have your child take a nap or rest in a dark room
Tip 2: Treat Kid’s headaches seriously.
Migraines can cause throbbing pain, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light and sound. Over-the-counter ibuprofen, naproxen or acetaminophen can ease pain.
• Studies have shown that 8 to 23 percent of children between 11 and 15 years old have experienced a migraine headache.
• Children as young as 3 have been reported with headaches that meet the migraine criteria.
• The percentage rises with age, with boys having more headaches pre-puberty, and girls having the higher incidence during and after puberty.
Tip 3: Head off the ache! What can parents do?
A headache could mean something as simple as a child’s life is out of balance. For children with frequent attacks some lifestyle changes may be necessary.
• Be a detective and search for triggers such as poor diet (missing breakfast and/or lunch), not sleeping enough, not exercising, stress, and eating certain foods such as: cheese, chocolates, nuts, caffeine, MSG, pickles. Also taking over the counter meds more than 3 times a week on a weekly basis can cause medication overuse headaches, also known as rebound headaches.
Make sure your child:
• Gets enough sleep by keeping a regular sleep schedule, not staying up late or becoming over tired.
• Drinks plenty of fluids so as not to become dehydrated
• Have some downtime from a hectic schedule
• Eats three balanced meals a day.
• Call your healthcare provider promptly if your child’s headache is accompanied by a fever, stiff neck, vomiting, awaking her/him up from sleep or problems with vision, weakness in one arm or leg, balance or coordination. Be sure to tell your health care provider about suspected migraines. Some kids may need preventive prescription medication.