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  • Is your child suffering from severe headaches, beware it can be a sign of Paediatric Migraine

    Published on August 24, 2022

    Dr Parth Lalcheta, Neurosurgeon, HCG Hospitals, Rajkot

    Headaches are a typical indicator of many illnesses and disorders that cause people to feel extreme discomfort. They can be a sign of both minor illnesses and serious neurological conditions. So, it is important not to take it lightly, especially when it involves your children.

    The simplest description of a migraine is a headache that ranges in severity from moderate to severe. Medical perspectives on migraines state that it is a brain malfunction that impacts the brain, its nerves, and the blood vessels. Vulnerability to migraine attacks is directly associated with genetics, with the presence of certain trigger factors that tend to initiate an episode.

    Migraine in Children

    The symptoms, duration, and management of children’s migraines are different from those of adults due to gender as well as age differences. Paediatric migraines continue to be an underdiagnosed illness because they seldom meet the diagnostic standards used to classify migraines in adults.

    Symptoms of Migraine in Children

    • Irritability and mood changes
    • Development of pale skin and dark circles
    • Brief visual or sensory disturbances
    • Mild to severe throbbing pain on one side of the head
    • Behavioural or emotional abnormalities, such as ceasing to eat or play, frequent crying, throwing up, or throwing temper tantrums
    • Sleepiness, food cravings, numbing sensations, and eye pain
    • Nausea or vomiting

    Causes of Migraine in children

    Migraine is believed to be a brain dysfunction that not just affects the brain and nerves but also affects the blood vessels. While experts are still doing research to understand the precise causes of this abnormality, one of the suggested causes could be the release of certain chemicals like Serotonin, which leads to inflammation and hence the pain of Migraine occurs.

    Certain triggers that could lead to a migraine attack include:

    • Skipping meals
    • Consumption of excessive chocolate, nuts, certain citrus fruits and foods containing MSG
    • Loud noises
    • Bright lighting
    • Excessive screen time
    • Overexposure to the Sun
    • Exhaustion

    Duration

    The duration of migraines among children is reported to be shorter than in adults. During a migraine episode, children will feel pain in various areas of their heads as well as across their foreheads. Adults, on the other hand, often feel discomfort in a single location on their heads.

    Treatment and Solution

    Due to the growing awareness about the different nature in which migraine affects children in comparison to adults, the paediatric treatment for migraines has changed significantly over recent years.

    The primary purpose of treating migraines is to prevent headaches from occurring. When migraine symptoms appear, caretakers can utilize the following measures at home:

    • Encouraging the child to rest in a quiet, dark room
    • Using cool or warm compresses to their forehead or neck.
    • Offering an eye mask to block out any light hindering the child’s sleep.
    • Have the child take deep, calming breaths.
    • Massaging any tense or sore muscles, which inturn eases muscle tension that might trigger headaches.
    • Changes in diet
    • Avoiding known triggers such as fasting, lack of sleep

    Some headaches may require immediate medical attention including hospitalization for observation, diagnostic testing, or even surgery. Treatment is individualized depending on the extent of the underlying condition that is causing the child’s headache. The extent of the child’s recovery is individualized depending on the type of headache and other medical problems that may be present.

    Some of the symptoms pertaining to migraine could have more serious health issues. It is important to seek emergency medical care if a child experiences:

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