Do you know that children too have headaches, headaches in children of all ages may be more common than you think. Often times, the headaches that children have are incorrectly thought to be due to sinus and vision problems but children can develop different types of headaches, including migraine or stress-related (tension) headaches. In some cases, headaches in children are caused by an infection, high levels of stress or anxiety, or minor head trauma. It is important to pay attention to your child’s headache symptoms to know when to consult a doctor if the headache worsens or occurs frequently.
Differences in symptoms may make it difficult to pinpoint headache type in a child, especially in a younger child who cannot describe symptoms. To help prevent migraines and headaches, it’s important to know what can trigger headache in your child.
Common Headache Triggers
Many children experience headaches after being exposed to a particular trigger. When these triggers are recognized, it is easier to avoid them and stop the headaches before they start. The most common triggers include Hormonal Changes, Certain foods, Stress, Anxiety and sleep deprivation.
Tips on how to prevent headaches in kids
The following tips will help you prevent headaches or reduce the severity of headaches in children.
Practice healthy behaviors. Behaviors that promote general good health also may help prevent headaches for your child. These lifestyle measures include getting plenty of sleep, staying active, eating healthy meals and snacks, drinking four to eight glasses of water daily, and avoiding caffeine, enough and quality sleep.
Reduce Stress. Stress and busy schedules may increase the frequency of headaches. Be alert for things that may cause stress in your child’s life, such as difficulty doing school work or strained relationship with peers. If your child’s headache is linked to anxiety or depression, consider talking to a counselor.
Keep a headache diary. A diary can help you determine what causes your child’s headache. Note when the headache start, how long they last and what, if anything, provide relief. Record your child’s response to taking any headache medication. Over time, the items you note in the headache diary should help you understand your child’s symptoms so that you can take specific preventive measures.
Avoid headache triggers. Avoid any food or drinks, such as those containing caffeine, that seem to trigger headaches. Your headache diary can help you determine what prompts your child’s headaches, so you know what to avoid.
Avoid prolonged contact with bright screen. Don’t allow kids or teens to use screens an hour before bed.
Encourage regular physical activity. This is to help relieve stress and anxiety.
Encourage healthy meals. Ensure kids eat healthy foods and do not skip meals.
Follow your doctor’s plan. Your doctor may recommend preventive medication if the headaches are severe, occur daily and interfere with your child’s normal lifestyle. Certain medications taken at regular intervals such as certain antidepressants or anti-seizure medications may reduce the frequency and severity of headaches.