Triggers are things that can cause your
child to have headaches. Your child may be able to prevent headaches by
avoiding the triggers.
Some things may trigger migraines or tension headaches, including:
- Emotional stress or
- Fatigue or lack of sleep.
- Being hungry or skipping meals.
- Bright lights or sun.
Children may feel stress from schoolwork, sports, social
events, a poor self-image, or problems with friends. These pressures can lead
to headaches in some children. Talk to your child about what might be causing
stress. You can help
find ways to cope with the stress, which may help prevent the headaches.
Talk to the doctor if you think your child may be
anxious. Treating these problems may reduce the number
of headaches your child has.
Other migraine triggers include:
- Certain foods, such as chocolate, caffeine drinks, and MSG (often used in Chinese
- Strong odors or cigarette smoke.
in the weather.
- Menstruation or other changes in
- Being dehydrated.
Other tension headache triggers
- Muscle strain in the neck or shoulders, sometimes from poor
- Grinding or clenching teeth.
Keep a headache diary
headache diary(What is a PDF document?) helps you find a link between your
child's headaches and the things that trigger them. Help your child write down when
each headache starts, how long it lasts, where it hurts, and what the pain is
like (throbbing, aching, stabbing, or dull).
Write down any other
symptoms your child has with the headache, such as nausea or being sensitive to
bright light or noise. List anything you think might have triggered the
Remember that it might take up to 24 hours for some
triggers to cause a headache. Other triggers can lead to a headache right away.
Show the headache diary to your child's doctor at each visit. The
doctor can help you and your child figure out what the triggers are. When you
know your child's triggers, you can help your child avoid those things.
To prevent migraines and tension headaches:
- Find healthy ways to help your child manage stress. Don't let
your child's schedule get too busy or filled with stressful events.
- Make sure that your child drinks 4 to 8 glasses of fluid a day.
Avoid drinks that have caffeine. Many popular soda drinks contain
- Make sure that your child gets plenty of sleep and keeps
a regular sleep schedule. Most children need to sleep 8 to 10 hours each
- Encourage your child to get plenty of exercise, without overdoing
- Limit the amount of time your child spends in front of the TV
- Make sure that your child does not skip meals.
- Keep your child away from
smoke. Do not smoke or let anyone else smoke around your child or in your
- Talk to your child's teachers if your child is having problems
with schoolwork. Make sure that the level and amount of schoolwork is
appropriate for your child.