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Headaches in Children - Symptoms

Migraine headaches

Migraines are intense, throbbing headaches that can be felt on one side or both sides of the head. The pain also can move from one side of the head to the other. Migraines can make it hard for your child to move around or do daily activities.

Other symptoms of migraines include:

  • Nausea, vomiting, or both.
  • Sensitivity to light, noise, and sometimes smells.
  • Paleness.
  • Changes in mood.
  • Changes in vision, such as flashing lights or dark spots, before the headache starts. This symptom, called aura, is more common in adults than in children.
  • Feeling lightheaded or dizzy.

Without treatment, your child's migraine headache can last as long as 72 hours.

Tension headaches

Tension headaches can last from 30 minutes to as long as several days. For children, these headaches often happen during school or around the time of a stressful event. And they can build up during the day. Symptoms of tension headaches include:

  • A constant ache that does not throb or pulse. Your child will probably feel pain or pressure on both sides of the head.
  • Tightness around the head or forehead.
  • Aching pain at the temples or the back of the head and neck.

Being sensitive to light or noise (but not both) can sometimes be a symptom of tension headaches. But sensitivity to light and noise is more common with migraines.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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