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- Migraine occurring with an aura (formerly called “classic”)
- Migraine occurring without an aura (formerly called “common”)
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- Genetics and environmental triggers
- Changes in a nerve that serves as a major pain pathway
- Imbalance in brain chemicals, like serotonin
- Physical exertion or too little physical activity
- Too much sleep or too little sleep
- Missing a meal
- Motion sickness from traveling
- Overuse of pain medicines
- Being overweight
- Certain foods such as chocolate, citrus fruits, dairy, processed meats, or fried foods
- Certain environmental triggers such as flashing lights, odors, loud noises, or weather changes
- Sex: More common in male children than female but more common in females after puberty
- Age: average age a child may get a migraine headache is seven years old for boys and 10 years old for girls
- Having family history of migraines
- Infantile colic
- A change in mood
- A change in behavior
- A change in the level of activity
- Food craving or decreased appetite
- Nausea, diarrhea
- Sensitivity to light
- Flashing lights, spots, or zig zag lines
- Temporary partial loss of vision
- Speech difficulties
- Weakness in an arm or leg
- Numbness or tingling in the face and hands
The Migraine Headache
A headache (usually on one side but may involve both sides) that often feels:
- Moderate or severe in intensity
- Throbbing or pulsating
- More severe with movement
- Nausea or vomiting
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
A Post-Headache Period
- Trouble concentrating
- Sore muscles
- Mood changes
- Prevent headaches
- Reduce headache severity and frequency
- Restore your child’s ability to function
- Improve your child’s quality of life
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen
Other Treatment During the Migraine
- Apply cold compresses to painful areas of your child’s head.
- Have your child lie in a dark, quiet room.
- Try applying constant gentle pressure to your child’s temples.
- Try to help your child fall asleep.
- Have you or your child keep a diary. It will help identify what triggers migraines and what helps relieve them.
- Maintain regular sleep patterns, even during the weekend or on vacation.
- Learn stress management and relaxations techniques.
- Do not skip meals.
- Exercise regularly.
Foods are not proven to trigger migraine, but consider keeping track of what your child eats. Foods suspected by some to trigger migraine include:
- Nuts and peanut butter
- Beans (eg, lima, navy, pinto, and others)
- Aged or cured meats
- Aged cheese
- Processed or canned meat
- Caffeine (intake or withdrawal)
- Canned soup
- Buttermilk or sour cream
- Meat tenderizer
- Brewer's yeast
- Red plums
- Snow peas
- Soy sauce
- Anything with MSG (monosodium glutamate), tyramine, or nitrates
American Headache Society http://www.americanheadachesociety.org/
The National Migraine Association http://www.migraines.org/
The College of Family Physicians of Canada http://www.cfpc.ca/
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Headache in Children. National Headache Foundation website. Available at: http://www.headaches.org/education/Headache%5FTopic%5FSheets/Headache%5Fin%5FChildren . Accessed June 24, 2013.
Migraine in Children and Adolescents. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us . Updated April 22, 2013. Accessed June 24, 2013.
Migraines. American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/migraines.html . Accessed June 24, 2013.
8/27/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance : Robberstad L, Dyb G, Hagen K, Stovner LJ, Holmen TL, Zwart JA. An unfavorable lifestyle and recurrent headaches among adolescents: The HUNT Study. Neurology. 2010;75(8):712-717.
10/25/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php : Bruijn J, Locher H, Passchier J, Dijkstra N, Arts WF. Psychopathology in children and adolescents with migraine in clinical studies: a systematic review. Pediatrics. 2010;126(2):323-332.
- Reviewer: Kari Kassir, MD
- Review Date: 09/2013
- Update Date: 09/30/2013