When to Call the Doctor About Your Child’s Headache Migraine

Most parents are well aware that children get headaches, in fact, studies have shown that more than 90% of school aged children get some type of headache. In most cases these are nothing to be worried about, and a little aspirin or similar type of medications is all that is needed for treatment. However, there are times when headaches in children are more severe and it is important for parents to know when to call the doctor about your child’s headache migraine.

How Common Are Child Migraines?

While most parents are aware that kids get headaches, what they might not know is that a migraine headache in children is more common than most people realize. It is estimate that somewhere between 4% and 10% of children experience a child headache migraine, and research has shown that approaching 6% of the population has at least on migraine attack before the age of 15. Many adults with headaches started having their headaches as children, with 20% reporting the onset before age 10.

Knowing whether a baby gets a migraine is obviously difficult, but there is some evidence gathered from parents of older children diagnosed with migraines that remember the same pattern of behavior in the children during a migraine attack when the child was younger. This research suggests that infants as early as 4 months might experience a child migraine headache. So all of this research suggests that migraines in children are similar to the statistics of the adult population. Children are also susceptible to the same types of headaches as adults, and migraine headaches, tension-type headaches, and cluster headaches are all documented as possible childhood headaches.

The impact of a child headache migraine on the lives of adolescents can be as dramatic as it is for an adult, and may impeded their participation in school or interfere with their participation in after school activities. For these reasons you will want to address these issues as soon as possible and seeking proper treatment.

When to call the doctor?

So, how does a parent know when to call the doctor about their child’s headache migraine? This article presents some general guidelines you can use that are recommended by medical professionals. Always err on the side of caution and when in doubt call your family pediatric doctor for their recommendations.

If a childs headache symptom continues for more than a couple of hours you should consult your family doctor. Also if your child complains of severe pain or any other unusual symptoms it is best to call your physician immediately. You should also call your doctor if your child’s migraine symptoms include any of the following: Occur at least once a month Headaches that wake a child from sleep. Keep him or her out of school

Personality changes.
Follow an injury, such as a blow to the head
Worsening or more frequent headaches.
Complaints that “this is the worst headache I’ve ever had!”
The headache is different than previous headaches.
Feature persistent nausea, vomiting or visual changes
Are accompanied by fever, along with neck pain or stiffness
Knowing the type of headache is important for an accurate diagnosis. To this end your doctor will ask for some basic information to help them determine the type of headache and the proper course of treatment. Your family doctor will ask you to describe your child migraine symptoms in detail to try and determine if there is a pattern or specific triggers. It is advisable for the parent to keep a headache diary of each episode to assist you and your doctor with a proper diagnose.

A headache diary will describe the symptoms of your child headache migraine, when it occurred, the specific symptoms shown, how long it lasted, whether there was an aura element, and any causes or triggers that you might have identified. This information will prove very valuable for a proper diagnosis. Your can find examples of headache diaries online that are free to download.

Most headaches in children are nothing to worry about and are very common. However, children can have headaches and pain that is equivalent to that of adults and should be taken as seriously. Follow the steps above to determine when to call you doctor about your child’s headache migraine, and remember, a preventative, or cautionary approach is always best when dealing with the health of our children. When in doubt, call your doctor!

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Chronic Headache Migraine – Preventative Ways to Keep Them From Happening

Chronic headache migraine is just no fun at all. If you suffer from migraines, there is bad news and good news.

The bad news is that there is no cure for migraines. Despite what you may have seen on TV or heard on some radio infomercial, migraines just cannot be cured.

The good news is that in some cases you can head them off (preventative treatments) or at least modify their severity (abortive treatments).

Foods that can trigger migraines

The first form of preventative treatment is to cut out foods that can trigger headaches such as those that contain tyramines, nitrites or monosodium glutamate.

In fact, one fourth of headache sufferers say that certain foods trigger their head pain. This is because many foods contain substances that can provoke the release of the neurotransmitters implicated in causing headaches.

Food with tyramines

Headaches can be triggered by foods containing the substance tyramine, which is a member of the amines group of organic chemical compounds. As such, it may influence the release of the neurotransmitter serotonin – which, in turn, can trigger a headache. Common foods that contain tyramine include:


Aged cheese

Vinegar (relish, salad dressings, sauces, catsup)

Organ meats (kidney liver)

Alcohol (especially red wine)

Sour Cream

Soy sauce


Yeast extracts

Food with nitrites

Headaches can also be triggered by foods containing nitrates as preservatives. It is estimated that in the United States there are 12,000,000,000 pounds of nitrite currently used to give meats a pink color and enhance their taste. Foods containing nitrite include:

Smoked fish

Corned beef




Canned ham

That old devil, monosodium glutamate

Monosodium glutamate (commonly called MSG) may also cause headache pain. It is a flavor enhancer that is often sold under the trade name Accent. An estimated 20,000 tons of monosodium glutamate are used yearly to add flavoring to foods.

Preventative medications

NSAIDs. NSAIDS are most often used in preventative treatment of those who suffer from chronic migraine. Typical nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin and others) or aspirin can help relieve mild migraines. There are also drugs in this family marketed specifically for migraine headaches. These are typically a combination of acetaminophen, aspirin and caffeine. One example of a combination drug sold over-the-counter is Excedrin Migraine.

Prescription medications

The Food and Drug Administration have approved a number of prescription drugs for use in preventing migraines. This includes cardiovascular drugs, antidepressants and alpha blockers.
The most popular of the cardiovascular drugs used to prevent migraine headaches are Inderal, Depakote and Sansert. Some migraine sufferers have also found they can prevent the onset of headaches with calcium channel blockers such a Verapamil, Wellbutrin and Nimotop.

Tricyclic antidepressants

Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) do have an anti-migraine effect, but are not usually considered to be the first choice in preventing migraines. However, they may be of help to some migraine sufferers, especially those who have both migraine and tension-type headaches. The antidepressants used most often in the treatment of migraines are Elavil, Sinequan, Vivactil. Norpramin and such SSRIs (Serotonin Update Inhibitors) as Prozak, Xoloft and Paxil.

Clonidine is an alpha blocker whose efficiency in migraine prevention is not as good as that of the beta blockers. A second alpha blocker that has been used successfully in treatment of childhood migraines is Cyproheptadine.

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