When Your Child Has a Headache
Kids and Migraines
A Migraine Pioneer continued...
"My dad has done more to open doors for migraine patients
-- for all patients with headaches -- in getting proper diagnosis and
treatment," she says. "He took criticism for quite a few years. He went
out on a limb, said this is something real, and patients need to be
The problem was, "we didn't have effective treatments,"
she says. "When doctors don't have effective treatments, they make it the
patient's fault. They say quit your job -- you'll be OK if you have less stress
in your life -- instead of recognizing it as a genetic disorder that creates
Truth is, migraine is a hereditary disease; if one parent has
migraines, the children each have a 50% chance having them. And if both parents
suffer, a child has 75% likelihood. While gene therapy has not been developed
for migraine, there are some "marvelous migraine medications," Diamond
Does Your Child Have Migraines?
Toddlers -- even babies - can develop migraines.
"Parents look back, they realize there were symptoms,"
Diamond says. "But it's not until a child learns to talk -- at age 3 or 4
-- that they can express that their head hurts."
Chronic headaches restrict an adult's lifestyle -- socializing,
working, eating, sleeping, sex -- causing anxiety and depression. But in
children, chronic pain has more far-reaching effects on personality and skill
development, he says.
"Kids don't understand what is going on, they don't know
what to tell people about it," Diamond tells WebMD. "Migraine can cause
depression, withdrawal, psychological problems in children."
Since headaches can develop into a chronic problem, they should
be attacked medically early in life, he says. Your child may not have to take
medication. "Things can be done with and without medicine," says
Head pain in children under age 10 is likely migraine or an
organic disease -- like a brain tumor, he says.
"Nobody should slight or minimize the symptoms of a child
under 10 years old who complains of headache," he says, adding one caveat:
"If someone in the family complains of headaches all the time, the child is
probably mimicking them."