Migraine Hurts Childrens School Family And Social Life
The impact of migraine on a childs quality of life has been well documented. Emotional issues and school performance are among the most common problemstheyre as troublesome for youngsters with chronic migraine to manage as for those who have cancer or arthritis. Kids often dont tell others about their migraines, including teachers and other kids, which may make their behavior seem confusing or anti-social.
Heres what to be alert to and keep you involved in minimizing the negative effects of migraine on your childs quality of life:
Signs And Symptoms Of Migraines
Migraines are often undiagnosed in children and adolescents. In children, the symptoms may include unexplained nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain or dizziness. Some children may experience what is called aura. Aura is a visual disturbance which usually happens after a headache. This is called a classic migraine.
Signs and symptoms of aura include:
- Dizziness, vertigo, faint feelings or fainting
- Numbness or tingling, mostly on one side of body
- Visual changes, blurring, seeing spots, lines or zigzags, blind spots and rainbows around objects
- On rare occasions, confusion, hallucinations, weakness on one side of the body and inability to speak
Before a migraine happens, you can observe changes in your childs behavior. These changes are
- Food craving
- Withdrawn attitude
Sensitivity to light, touch or smell is common as well. Motion sickness should not be ignored because this is an early warning of the predisposition to childhood migraines.
Abdominal Migraines In Children: Causes Symptoms And Treatment
Your child tells you that their stomach hurts. They immediately ask what they ate, and if it turns out they havent ingested what could be the culprit , just assume it will go away on its own. But if the problem persists, youll find that ginger ale or bland foods like rice or toast arent enough. So if you are looking for answers online, you may come across this term: abdominal migraines. But what are abdominal migraines in children? These abdominal discomforts can be more serious than normal abdominal pain.
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Migraine And Psychiatric Comorbidity In Children
Comorbidities must be determined in headache patients. Indeed, it has been found that psychiatric comorbidities interfere with prognosis, the identification of risk for transitions from episodic to chronic conditions, and variations in treatment response, and lead to high costs and a low quality of life . In adults with migraine, psychiatric comorbidities have been studied , and several psychiatric disorders that co-occur or co-exist with migraine, including anxiety, depression, panic, bipolar, and obsessive-compulsive disorders, have been identified . Hence, an association between mood and anxiety disorders and pediatric migraine has been proposed, but this association is less investigated .
Another important angle is that most studies primarily focus on the negative mood changes with migraine, which is appropriate, as it occurs most commonly. However, elevated mood can also be seen. This was reported in the 17th century by Thomas Willis , who described his historical headache patient enjoying all the pleasures of life excessively in the days prior to her severe headaches. Elevated mood occurs in the prodrome that may occur in the form of agitation and striking out at others during the headache. Rarely, elevated mood can be seen in the postdrome in the form of an elevated energy level. These data are from adult populations, so elevated mood in children requires further investigation to identify its form and impact .
If Your Child Takes Migraine Meds Get Them Ready
Print copies of instruction on how to implement Migraine treatments to give to the school nurse. Many kids with Migraine get relief with over-the-counter medications, prescription medications, and/or alternative methods
Even if your child is old enough to recognize a Migraine attack and know how to treat it, the school will likely require written instructions. Written instructions will make sure the treatments are implemented at the first sign of symptoms. This increases the chances of successfully aborting the attack, and takes some of the stress off of navigating school and Migraine.
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Headache In Children And Adolescents A Frequent Symptom
Headache is a frequent symptom in children and adolescents, many cases not being seen by doctors. Studies have generally indicated that prevalence increases from preschool age to mid-adolescence. Unfortunately, headache is often underdiagnosed in children for a number of reasons including the belief that headache in children is just a smaller version of the symptoms experienced by adults . A number of studies have shown that symptoms, triggers, and treatments can be quite different for children and adults, even for the same headache disorders .
Some causes of frequent or chronic headache in children include :
- Primary headache disorder such as migraine
- Sports-related concussion
- Eye-strain due to short- or long-sightedness
- Psychiatric disorders
- Medication overuse
- Environmental/lifestyle causes
Headache is one of the main reasons children miss school. Missing school can affect a childs overall education and ability to fit in to the school environment and curriculum. Some headaches can cause significant pain and disability, but in most cases the headache can be diagnosed quickly and treated effectively.;
Making The Migraine Better
Drugs to control the symptomsResting in a quiet, darkened room, using a hot or cold pack to ease the pain, and gentle massage, may be sufficient to control mild symptoms. Most children want to lie down during an attack and they can be helped by a short sleep sometimes. Encourage your child to eat or drink something, if possible. If nausea or vomiting is a problem, ask your doctor to prescribe something for this to help the painkillers be absorbed quickly and also minimise these troublesome symptoms. The gut shuts down during migraine and this delays absorption of drugs, reducing their effectiveness.
Treatment should be taken in adequate doses as early in an attack as possible. A migraine attack gathers momentum if left too long and delaying treatment often means it is less effective. Drug treatment should be kept simple. If taken early in an attack, over-the-counter painkillers may be all that is necessary. Syrups or soluble tablets may be preferred as they can be more rapidly absorbed. Soluble or effervescent painkillers can be dissolved in a sweet, fizzy drink to make them more palatable and more effective.
Schools: It is worth informing your childs school about the problem. If possible, provide staff with specific written instructions for management, stressing the need for early treatment. See our factsheet for guidance . In severe cases an individual Health Care plan for your child needs to be drawn up.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Migraine In Children
How can you tell if your childs head pain is migraine? The symptoms vary from person to person. But if you agree with some or many of the statements below, your childs head pain may be migraine and you should think about seeing a doctor.
- The head pain associated with migraine is typically moderate-to-severe.
- Head pain can be one-sided and throbbing. But often, this is not the case in children and teens. They may complain of a steady, bilateral pain that is oftenbut not alwaysabove the eyes.
- A migraine attack can last from one hour to several days. Often, childrens attacks are shorter than adults.
- Associated symptoms commonly include nausea, vomiting, light sensitivity and sound sensitivity.
- Some children describe other symptoms such as having difficulty focusing, blurred vision and lightheadedness or dizziness.
- Some children experience abdominal pain with an attack.
- Head pain is severe enough to make a child miss school or other activities .
- Depression or irritability in a child can sometimes be a symptom of migraine, although this is very uncommon.
A minority of children will also have an aura preceding the onset of the migraine. Auras are usually a visual disturbance, but it can affect speech or involve feelings of numbness in the face and arm.
Seeing The Pediatrician For Additional Medical Treatment
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Q: How Are Childrens Migraines Treated
The frequency of headaches will help determine their treatment. Its not advisable to treat frequent headaches the same way youd treat headaches that occur only once a month.
Current expert recommendations suggest that children who have migraines more than once a week should receive preventive treatment, including medication and/or behavioral interventions.
Research shows that for children, behavioral interventions are even more effective than medication. Through therapy, mental health professionals;help your child learn new strategies for managing stress and for regulating emotions to avoid triggering headaches.
What Can Parents Do To Help Their Young Children If They Are Experiencing Symptoms Of Migraine
Its crucial to talk to your pediatrician about migraine symptoms your child may experience as soon as you recognize them. Getting referred to a pediatric migraine specialist can help your child get a migraine diagnosis, which can help him or her find relief from pain. Episodic headaches can morph into chronic, daily headaches if left untreated. The diagnosis of a migraine headache is based on your childs health history. Blood tests and brain scans do not help to diagnose a migraine. Often, parents are diagnosed with migraine after their childs diagnosis; a parent may have dismissed his or her own sinus headaches, when the parent was really dealing with migraines.
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Follow Protocol And Work With The School
Find out what steps the school would like your child to follow if a migraine strikes. For example, if your child begins to notice prodrome symptoms at school, where should he or she go for help? You’ll need to be able to tell your child who will be helping him or her, whether it’s the classroom teacher, an office secretary, or a school nurse.
Explain to the teacher that in the event of prodromal symptoms, your child may need to take certain steps to help prevent a migraine from occurring. Ask the teacher how your child should go about taking steps such as:
- Grabbing a quick snack
How To Prepare Your Child To Manage Migraine At School
As a parent of a child with Migraine, the last thing you want your student to stress over is whether they will begin the school year pain-free. The following tips have all helped me personally as a caregiver-parent.
If you’re interested in a year with few complications while dealing with Migraine at school, consider adopting similar strategies. Having a plan in place will help both you and your child approach school with peace of mind.
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Keep A Migraine Diary
Many people with migraine find that keeping a diary is a great tool for understanding why they get migraines and how to prevent them. With diary entries, they can track when they have an attack, how long it lasts, what they were doing before and during the attack, what foods they ate, and how bad they headache was.; Mobile phone apps may have more appeal for your youngster and may actually help kids comply better with medication regimens and track their migraines more closely. New apps are being developed every day and you can check out some of the best here;
Barriers To Getting Help
Young migraine sufferers endure the same obstacles to getting relief from their pain as older migraine sufferers.;Many myths and beliefs persist in our culture that makes it difficult to get a proper diagnosis and treatment.;Even those with migraine themselves tend to downplay the impact of the pain on their lives and families. In addition, those around them also set up barriers to help, either wittingly or not.
Doctors, too, often dismiss or ignore a childs head pain. Too many children who see a doctor for migraine or likely migraine are not getting any medication for their pain, says Robert A. Nicholson, PhD, Director of Behavioral Medicine at Mercy Clinic Headache Center in St. Louis. And too few are receiving care consistent with evidence based guidelines, and far too many are being prescribed an opiate.
If you take your child to the doctor because you are concerned about migraine, dont be reluctant to say so and to ask about medication or other forms of treatment.
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Migraine At School: Hope For Parents Of Children With Migraine
My daughter Danielle was a happy child, a gifted student and athlete, friend to everyone and a bright shining light in our lives. Then she developed migraine disease. The symptoms of abdominal migraine began when she was 8 years old. At first her migraine attacks were episodic, and then gradually they became more frequent. By the time she was 11, her migraine attacks were chronic, causing her to frequently miss school and requiring several hospitalizations. We tried everything: consulting top headache specialists, biofeedback, acupuncture, IV therapy and Botox as her migraine attacks became more complex and frequent.
Despite the severity of her migraine disease, Danielle maintained a high GPA with the help of understanding teachers. She was also a varsity athlete, lettering for 4 years in tennis and 3 years in softball. During her senior year in softball, Danielles migraine attacks were so severe that she frequently missed practices and games. When she showed up, she often just sat on the sidelines. That year, the coach purchased warm up sweats for the varsity team, and Danielle was excluded. It was devastating for her. It meant that she was not a part of the team. I called the coach and explained the severity of her disease. I shared how much it would mean to her to be included. And I even told him I would pay for the sweats. Like so many children who live with migraine, she just wanted to be a normal kid like everyone else. He refused.
Migraine In Children And Adolescents
Migraine is a complex and disabling inherited neurological condition which occurs in 4-10% of children. Nearly half of children with migraine never receive a diagnosis. It can be a cause of undiagnosed abdominal pain or headache in children. Studies suggest that around 60% of children aged between 7 and 15 experience headache but the diagnosis may be delayed because the presentation is not always one of headache. Abdominal pain, cyclical vomiting, travel sickness, limb pain and episodic dizziness can all confuse the picture. Headache may be absent or not follow the pattern more commonly associated with migraine in adults.
Migraine can result in severe impact on the life of a child but also on their family, school life and social activities. Missing the diagnosis can result in further harms to the child including poor management of their symptoms, anticipatory anxiety about future attacks, inappropriate/ineffective medication use, a loss of confidence and low self esteem, poor attendance at school or school refusal and even being mislabelled as a malingerer. see Factsheet: Advice to schools.
Migraine affects boys and girls equally until puberty, after which migraine is more prevalent in girls . Severe pain and vomiting which are not treated effectively can mean that children often have to remain at home during attacks and are unable to participate in normal daily activities.
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Migraine Is Disabling In Kids And Teens Too
While symptoms of migraine in kids and teens may be different from those typically found in adults, children can be just as disabled. In addition to the attack-related disability itself, kids and teens may develop anticipatory anxiety, worrying that at any time an attack could disrupt their life. Its quite common for kids who suffer to be absent from school and unable to participate in after-school and weekend activities. In fact, kids who have migraine are absent from school twice as often as kids who dont.
Kids and especially adolescents and teens can also suffer from one of the most disabling types of migraine, chronic migraine . CM occurs when a child has 15 or more headache days per month lasting more than 4 hours, for more than 3 months. Many teenagers with CM report daily headaches. Head pain isnt the only symptom of CM other common symptoms include dizziness, sleep disturbances, anxiety, depression, difficulty concentrating, and fatigue. CM is challenging to treat and significantly impairs quality of life.
Ripple Effects On Kids Education Life And Health
But these treatments arent cures. Adams would have to pick up her daughter from school or email teachers, explaining why her daughter cant complete homework. Its so important to listen and give them the time they need to feel better, not just pushing through for the sake of school, she says.
This is something Dean Dyer, a mother and author in Texas, agrees with. It was scary and frustrating, Dyer says as she recalls her sons early migraine experiences, which began when he was 9 years old. Hed get them several times a month. Theyd be so debilitating that hed miss out on school and activities.
Dyer, who has some health issues of her own, says she knew she had to be her childs advocate and not give up on finding answers. She recognized the symptoms of a migraine right away and took her son to his doctor.
He was allergic to mountain cedar and other things, which are prevalent in our area, especially in the fall, says Dyer. Doctors tested him for allergies and her son began receiving allergy shots.
Avoiding triggers and treating allergies has helped Dyers son. Before he learned that mountain cedar triggered his migraines, Dyer says her son would get them several times a month, causing him to miss school and activities. Since he began receiving allergy shots, he rarely has migraines.
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