Children of all ages, including infants, very young children and adolescents can experience painful headaches. More than 20% of adult headache patients report that their headaches began before the age of 10. Many even report that they had a “baby talk” word for their headache symptoms before they could even pronounce the word headache, as did our Dr. Steinberg.
The diagnosis of a headache condition is a diagnosis of exclusion, one that is made after all sinister causes have been ruled out. It is very important that parents of children with headache and/or neurological symptoms have their children examined by a physician (start with a pediatrician) to rule out any such underlying causes. Most often, childhood headaches are caused by a predisposition (sometimes genetic, though not always) to be sensitive to specific dietary, lifestyle (e.g., sleep patterns), environmental (e.g., lighting, computers), psychological (e.g., stress and anxiety), and/or physical exertion triggers, which set off a cascade of events involving brain chemicals, nerves and blood vessels, resulting in headache.
Learn to identify your child's triggers and teach trigger avoidance by practicing The Headache Preventive Lifestyle at home. With your help s/he can learn simple, though extremely effective, ways to diminish or completely prevent headache and its related symptoms.
Common symptoms experienced by children with headaches:
- Throbbing head pain
- Visual disturbances
- Facial/eye pain or pulling sensation
- Loss of coordination
- Appearing listless and unable to participate in daily routines
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Decreased academic performance and/or problems socializing
- Anxiety and sadness about not being able to enjoy life