The Negative Impacts of Migraines on Children
Migraines are a prevalent neurological disorder that has continued to increase around the world. Up to 39 million men, women, and children in the United States suffer from this condition. Even though this condition is so common, there is very little funding available for research to find solutions for those who are suffering. One statistic showed that in 2013, the amount available for funding migraine research was as little as 50 cents per migraine patient!
It is difficult to picture children suffering from migraines as much as adults, but for children, the illness often goes undiagnosed. Listed below are some facts that you may find interesting regarding migraines in kids:
- Days of school missed doubles for children who have migraines compared to those without.
- Girls tend to have more migraines than boys. However, boys often have more migraines than girls before puberty.
- Around 10 percent of school-age children get migraines.
- Migraines start before the age of 12 in many people.
- Babies as young as 18 months have had symptoms consistent with migraines.
- Infant colic has recently been connected to migraines. In fact, it is possible that it is an early form of a migraine.
- Migraines can be hereditary. A child with one parent who gets migraines is at a 50% risk of getting them. If both parents have migraines, the risk rises to 75%.
- By the time children reach age 17, as many as 23% of girls and 8% of boys have already had a migraine.
A child’s migraine symptoms are similar to an adult’s. They may include the following:
- Pounding or throbbing head pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Sensitivity to touch, light, sound, and certain smells
- Mood swings
- Abdominal pain
Symptoms can vary depending on the child’s age. This is a short list of how different age children may react when migraines are present:
- Infants may occasionally bang their head.
- Preschool children may appear ill and have abdominal pain, vomiting, and want to sleep. They also may be irritable, may cry or rock, and look for a dark place to rest.
- In the 5- to 10-year age range, kids may complain of head pain in the front, sides, or back of the head accompanied by abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, sleepiness, tearing, swollen nasal passages, excessive thirst, edema, sweating, increased urination, and diarrhea.
- Older children and teens may have longer and more frequent headaches, a throbbing or pulsing sensation, and one-sided head pain.
In general, children have fewer migraines and ones that are shorter in duration than adults. However, their migraines have the potential to be just as incapacitating and have the ability to hinder the quality of a child’s life. Migraines can result in teens developing something called anticipatory anxiety, which is when they are constantly worrying about when the next migraine will strike and interrupt their life. Children with migraines often miss school and cannot participate in weekend or after-school activities.
Unfortunately, chronic migraines can also affect children and teens, which means they have more than 15 migraine episodes per month that last at least 4 hours. To be diagnosed as chronic, this frequency of migraines must happen for 3 months or more in a row. Some teens have daily head pain, dizziness, sleep problems, problems concentrating, depression, anxiety, and fatigue. This condition is difficult to manage and has major negative effects on one’s life and daily activities.
Treating Migraines in Children
When helping a child with a migraine the number one thing you want to do is get them to rest, avoid any migraine triggers, and reduce the stress they may be experiencing. A few things that family doctors will discuss with families regarding migraines are as follows:
- Explaining what migraines are to the parents and child
- Showing them the importance of regular bed times, routine meal schedules, and not overloading a child’s schedule with too many unnecessary activities
- Helping to find out what is triggering a child’s migraines and then working to avoid them while understanding that this may reduce but not eliminate migraines
- Helping a child to keep a migraine diary so as to find the source of the triggers for him or her specifically
Here are some other recommendations for helping with migraine attacks:
- Getting the child to lie down in a dark, cool, quiet room and sleep
- Putting ice or pressure on the neck or head
- Try using techniques that help the child to relax
A Natural Alternative for Caring for Migraines
Instead of using medications that treat the symptoms, it is important that parents focus on what is causing the migraines. A connection was found between migraines and a misalignment in the bones of the upper cervical spine, particularly the C1 and C2 vertebrae. This issue is a contributing factor to migraines in both children and adults. These bones are susceptible to this type of misalignment primarily because of their unique range of movement that allows for the head’s ability to move in the many directions it does. This is why they are more vulnerable to misaligning than any other bones in the spine. Their other extremely important job is to protect the brainstem. A misalignment of these bones can place pressure on the brainstem and compromise nervous system function as well as normal blood flow to and from the brain.
Here at Premier Family Wellness and Spinal Care in Farmington, Michigan, we use a gentle method to assist the bones in returning back into place, naturally avoiding methods that force through popping or cracking the spine. This type adjustment is often the catalyst for the body to begin its natural restoration process of brain and body communication, blood flow, and nervous system function, which lowers the number of migraines the person experiences. In fact, for some patients, they see a complete resolution on their migraines, making it possible for kids to return to their normal activities and enjoy life to the fullest, as they should be.
To schedule a consultation with Dr. Perkins call 248-478-6203 or just click the button below area
if you are outside of the local area you can find an Upper Cervical Doctor near you at www.uppercervicalawareness.com.