Headache in children: all about migraines

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Even the little ones can suffer from migraines, the most common form of headache in children.

"This neurological, genetic disease affects over 8% of under 14s, especially if their parents suffer from it. Depend on alterations in electrical activity of the cerebral cortex, facilitated by triggers such as heat waves, low temperatures, wind, alterations in the sleep-wake rhythm, strong emotions, or periods of stress », explains Dr. Massimiliano Valeriani, head of the headache center of the Bambino Gesù pediatric hospital in the city.

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At any age, his headache

«Depending on the age, the crisis has different characteristics: in babies, migraines are manifested by gas colic or a state of drowsiness and generalized fatigue. After 7 years, the pain, similar to a vise that tightens and oppresses the whole head. In children, the crisis, most of the time, lasts from a few minutes to a maximum of half an hour, while in older children it usually exceeds two hours and is often accompanied by nausea e intolerance of light and noise».

Prevent attacks

"If left untreated, migraine attacks can sensitize areas of the brain responsible for processing pain, thus making the problem worse," continues the expert. "Attention also to the sonno which must be regular: staying up late or, on the contrary, sleeping more than usual can trigger a crisis ».

The most annoying forms affect children who demand a lot from themselves, especially at school. For this, it is necessary to give them the opportunity to disconnect from the commitment to books, for example with a 'sport activity: that they like it and that it does not oblige them to compete, because it would represent an additional load of stress.


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Contact your pediatrician immediately

"He can prescribe the pain relieving molecules more indicated, such as ibuprofen and paracetamol. If the headache is drug resistant, or if the attacks are more than 4-5 per month, he may recommend one instead visit to a specialist center to evaluate other causes and, if necessary, to resort to preventive drugs. Given in precise doses, they can reduce the number of seizures. The sessions of brief psychotherapy to help the child manage stress.

Do-it-yourself with painkillers is prohibited: they have different effects depending on the active ingredient. “Not only that, there is the risk of abusing drugs. Wrong dosage can lead to chronic headache », concludes the expert.

The false myths

Among the most common misconceptions, thinking that the headache is related to sinusitis and that it should be treated with aerosol: this infection of the airways does not affect children under 8 years because the nasal sinuses are not yet developed and, after age, the cases of headache due only to sinusitis are 1- 2%.

Also wrong to consider migraine as a purely psychological problem: the basis is linked to a constitutional predisposition and emotional factors can only make it worse.

It generally doesn't even depend on defects of sight, but in some cases the pediatrician may indicate one eye examination, to better clarify any underlying conditions.

Updated on 14.03.2022

  • headache
  • migraine children
  • 6-14 children years
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