Headaches in Children and Adolescents
Headaches and migraines are experienced in up to 60% of children and adolescents worldwide, with increasing prevalence into the mid-teenage years. Severe pain caused by headaches is one of the leading factors contributing to time off school. Tackling headaches in children closer to onset can help to prevent many years of pain and discomfort, as well as improve productivity at school and at work in the future.
What types of headaches do children and adolescents experience?
The two most common types of headache that young people suffer from are tension type headaches and migraines.
Tension type headaches are most commonly found in teenagers, which is thought to be worsened by tight neck and shoulder muscles from sitting at school or at a desk. They can be episodic or chronic.
Up to 10% of headaches in children are categorised as migraines. The occurrence increases by almost double from ages under 10 to 14-15 years. As children grow, it is thought that there is a hormonal influence to the migraines. Boys are affected more as children, where as girls are affected more in their teenage years.
What are triggers of headaches in children?
Whilst many of the triggers can be similar to those in adults such as lack of sleep, dehydration or a missed meal, there are also other triggers that may be overlooked. These include:
- Food allergies or intolerance
- Environmental odours
- Conflicts at school or at home
Many of these triggers can be addressed individually to significantly reduce the occurrence of headaches and migraines.;
If you are a sufferer or have a child who suffers from migraines, contact our headache clinicians for a careful assessment and early diagnosis of your condition.
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Jeong, Y et. al. (2018). Primary headaches in children and adolescents – experiences at a single headache center in Korea. BMC Neurology, 18(70). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12883-018-1073-9
Headache Australia | Children and Headache. (2018). Retrieved from https://headacheaustralia.org.au/what-is-headache/children-and-headache/