Headaches in Children
October 11, 2015 | 10:56 AM

What causes headaches in children?

International Headache Society classifies headaches into more than 150 types. Many parents worry that their child’s headache is the sign of a brain tumour or serious medical condition. Children get the same type of headaches as adults do, including tension headache, migraines and sinus headaches. Most headaches in children are due to an illness, cold or fever. Other conditions that cause headaches include sinusitis, infections of throat or ear.

Are they any specific triggers?

Triggers of migraine in children are fatigue, bright lights, changes in weather, stress, anxiety, change in routine or sleep pattern, loud noises, certain foods, and food additives. Too much physical activity and too much sun can also trigger migraine in some children. Eye problems in children is also a common cause of headache and it should be corrected at the earliest, or else it may affect the child’s performance at school.

Can they be pointers to any serious disorder?

When headache worsens over time or occur along with symptoms like vision problems, speech problems, vomiting, muscle weakness, they can be the sign of a more serious problem like brain tumours, infections of brain, bleeding within the brain, abnormal build up of fluid in brain, and many more. Such circumstances warrant a complete physical examination and headache evaluation by your doctor.

What is the treatment for common headaches?

Treatment of headaches in children consists of educating the child and parents in identifying the triggers like inadequate sleep, not eating at regular times, eating certain foods and additives. Teaching the child certain relaxation techniques, in addition to medication, can also help.

Some tips for children with recurrent headaches:

• Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast.

• Get 8 hours of sleep every night.

• Drink 6-8 glasses of water daily

• Avoid caffeinated foods or beverages (chocolates, colas, coffee, tea)

• Avoid foods with high nitrates (hot dogs, sausages).

• Limit foods with high tyramine content (pizzas, some types

of cheese).

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