About 8% of children suffer from migraines and around 1.5-2% experience chronic migraines, meaning they have a headache more than 15 days a month. Symptoms can be just as debilitating in children as they are in adults. Learning how to help manage them is just one of the many things a family must juggle each day in the life of a child with pediatric migraines.
Pediatric Migraine Symptoms:
Migraine symptoms vary from child to child. Even their own attacks may differ each time. They can still experience the classic symptoms of light and noise sensitivities, dizziness, fatigue, and visual disturbances. However, some differences specific to children include:
- Head pain that’s felt through the entire head rather than just one side.
- Shorter duration of attacks with them improving between two and four hours.
- Abdominal pain without head pain.
- Often car sickness is an indicator of migraine.
- The headache can come on very suddenly, and the child may be in severe pain in less than 15 minutes.
It Takes a Village
Families affected by pediatric migraines play an essential role in successfully managing the various impacts that any chronic condition comes with. Treatment plans include options that reduce the frequency, are given before an attack, and ones that help provide relief when severe enough. Children may experience regular patterns that occur before a migraine. They can learn to recognize these for earlier intervention and reduce the number of attacks. Keeping a migraine journal will help with this and is instrumental in also identifying any triggers to avoid in the future.
Anyone responsible for a child with pediatric migraines should know what to do during an attack and any warning signs outside the home. Depending on the severity, medical accommodations for school may be necessary for alternate options due to absences. Having these types of plans in place will help minimize the social, emotional, and educational impacts.
Pediatric Migraine Research
Though common in children, very few treatments are approved to treat or prevent migraines in younger patients. As scientists and researchers design potential new options for pediatric migraines, clinical research studies provide important safety and efficacy information.
If your child has a diagnosis of pediatric migraines, clinical research studies may help. To learn more about enrolling pediatric migraine studies at Cedar Health Research, call 214-253-8170, or visit our website.