Children get migraines, too, they are not a condition confined to adulthood..
Studies have even indicated that infants may get migraines, but this is hard to verify.
Current estimates indicate that up to 10% of children between 5-15 years old suffer from migraines, increasing to 28% in the 15-19 age range.
Migraine headaches have a real impact on quality of life for children. The high percentage of children that experience migraines makes them a top childhood health problems.
Diagnosing pediatric migraine is similar to diagnosing adult migraines with a few notable exceptions. The International Headache Society’s criteria states that the headache must last 4 to 72 hours.
Children’s migraines are generally shorter and this fact needs to be taken into account when attempting to diagnose them.
Adult migraines are frequently one-sided, but children’s frequently involve pain on both sides of the head. These headaches should not be dismissed just because they are not one-sided.
For most child migraineurs (people suffering from migrainous headaches) the headaches begin between 5 and 11 years of age.
Prior to puberty, the number of male and female children with migraines is roughly equal. After puberty, girls are considerably more likely than boys are to have migraines,
most likely due to the same hormonal issues that make the number of adult women migraineurs three times that of the men.
Many child migraineurs are fortunate enough to have their condition disappear during puberty or upon reaching adulthood.
However, people who have migraines as children are much more likely to become adult migraineurs than those who did not have them as a child.
Adult migraine sufferers should watch for migraine symptoms in their children, particular if the other parent also experiences migraines. A child with two migraineur parents has a 70% chance of becoming a migraineur.
Massage Therapy for Children
Countless studies and pediatric research have shown that massage therapy is supremely beneficial for a wide variety of conditions in young children.
As a matter of fact, these studies revealed that massage therapy for young children is a crucially important supplemental treatment to conventional medicine.
However, these studies further showed that, in many cases, massage therapy on its own works better in relieving symptoms of many disturbing conditions than do medications and other standard procedures associated with Western medicine.
According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMA), more than twenty percent of all children,
from newborns to toddlers and early school year children, are afflicted with eczema at some point in their young lives and roughly the same percentage is true for infants and young children suffering from traumatic burns.
For that reason, the pain and suffering of trauma burns and eczema are counted among the most common pediatric skin conditions in the United States. Most studies bring to light the following findings:
• Young burn trauma patients who were treated with a massage therapy sessions for approximately thirty minutes before any.
kind of medical or nursing procedures, were more relax physically as well as mentally through the process and they, therefore, experienced less discomfort or pain.
It is important to stress here that the massage treatment was applied only to areas which were not affected by burns.
• Young children suffering from eczema (also known as atopic dermatitis) who were given massage treatments before and while being treated with skin medications such as emollients and ointments exhibited less apprehension and they were more willing to cooperate.
In addition, the physical conditions of their skins dramatically improved as redness subsided, as did lichenification, scaling, excoriation and pruritus.
The therapy in these conditions ideally consists of two phases. First phase — to ensure smooth strokes during the massage treatment, the child’s body is moisturized with a dermatitis medication.
Second phase — being very careful to avoid particularly sensitive areas of the body, a series of varied massage techniques is used on the child’s face, chest, stomach, legs and arms.
The Children’s Mercy Hospital of Kansas City, Missouri has been using massage therapy to alleviate chronic pain from headaches and migraines in young children and, in the process,
also relieving their levels of anxiety and distress, lowering their heart rates, improving their gastrointestinal systems,
promoting the release of endorphins and bringing their entire bodies to a state of calmness. And all these positive effects seem to be immediate or nearly immediate.
Applying massage therapies to infants and young children is not at all a newly discovered concept as it has been a daily practice in the Eastern and African cultures for many generations.
They understood that the first sense to develop in humans is the sense of touch and that it is essential to health and wellness.
Massage treatments for the young members among ancient cultures served to heal, to energize, to calm and to reinforce close bonding and the sense of trust and security.
Having been working zealously on the subject of massage for young children for the past ten or so years, Dr.
Tiffany Field and her associates at the Touch Research Institute (TRI) in Miami, Florida insist that, “Every child, no matter the age, should be massaged at bedtime on a regular basis.”
Non-Drug Treatment for Pediatric Migraine
The last thing most parents want to do is give their child a drug. Yet, when that child is a migraineur (a person with chronic migraine headaches), as are a reported 10-28% of children under the age of 19, many feel they have no choice.
This is simply not true. In fact, most pediatric neurology specialists will recommend alternative treatments before medication for safety reasons.
A number of non-drug therapies are available for pediatric migraine sufferers. As with any complementary or alternative medicine (CAM) treatment, the patient’s physician must be a part of the team making the decisions and overseeing care.
One of the most common non-drug treatment options is temperature therapy. The application of a warm or cool compress eases pain for many.
Apply the hot or cold pack to the area of greatest pain, taking care to insulate it so no damage to the child’s skin occurs.
Sleep frequently eases the suffering of adult migraineurs. The duration of children’s migraines is usually shorter than that of an adult. A nap taken in a dark, quiet, area can eliminate some migraines altogether.
Scheduling can be a factor in reducing the frequency of pediatric migraines. Unlike adults, who experience stress in an acute, episodic manner, children usually experience a constant stress level, particularly during the school year.
Establishing a regular routine, including time to relax and an age-appropriate sleep schedule, helps many young migraineurs.
Relaxation training, including instruction in self-hypnosis and guided imagery, is becoming the treatment of choice for recurrent pediatric migraines.
Studies on the subject show that over half of the pediatric patients who learn these relaxation techniques experience less frequent migraines, but with no reduction in pain intensity when they do have one.
There are many options for pediatric migraine therapy, do not be afraid to ask the doctor about drug alternatives.
Frequent Headaches and Migraine in Children
Children who get frequent headaches and migraine attacks have chronic illness. Such children and their parents face problem to adjust with school and their rules.
Extra preparations and steps should be taken to cope with such illness. Pediatric specialist in migraine and headaches exist should be consulted for treatment and other precautionary & preventive measures.
Also the triggers vary from child to child, which should be recognized accurately.
Firstly, it is the strict attendance rule in most of the schools that children with chronic illness find it difficult to deal with.
To add to it, majority of the schools have zero tolerance policy regarding medications, even including over the counter medicines.
Reports of students getting expelled for merely carrying Advil in school with them are common. Prior to making appointment with the doctor, it is recommended that parents read the policy of the school the child is attending.
It is good to ask questions before hand, than feeling sorry later. Some of the schools asks for letter or medical record as a proof,
incase the student didn’t attend because of a health problem. Some schools consider sick leaves as regular leaves and in this case, the attendance gets affected greatly.
School nurses can be given the prescribed medicine so that they can give the medicine to the child at the required time. If this is the case, things such as medicine storage location and availability of substitute should be checked.
Apart from not attending regularly, the child can sometimes be unable to take part in co-curricular activities especially physical education and outdoor recess.
Other possible options should be discussed with the teacher. Usually a recommendation letter from the physician will do the needed. In all the cases, some kind of medical identification can be carried by the child at all times.
If the child is attending an after school babysitter or program, directly after school, extra measures should be taken. The babysitter or program in charge should be told about the problem in advance.
Their cooperation can be asked for timely administration of the medicine and for taking special care of the child. If the child himself is grown enough to understand the matter, the child should be educated about taking medications.
They should also be made to understand that it is harmful to take medicines from any un-trustable source even if their fellow students do. Budge them to ask questions and clarify any of their fears of concerns.
Most of the children lack the ability to convey their problem properly. The situation is further aggravated because of different kinds of headaches. They can be related to chronic illness, tension, sinus or fever. Only diagnosis can bring out the correct problem.
If the rate of headache becomes more frequent, like more than twice a month, doctor’s appointment should be taken instantly. Younger kids find it more difficult to explain the problem. If they become cranky, restless, irritating, tired, is having sleeping disorders and is not eating properly, a problem surely exists.
Most of the children complain of headaches during exams because of increased stress. Seventy five percent of the children experience headaches because of tension. If so, stress management education, along with counseling, should be given to the kid.
Headaches can be an indication of other problems, too. So, thorough diagnosis is highly recommended. The child’s previous medical history provides important clue.
Prior to the doctor’s appointment, notes can be made after referring the medical history. Maintaining a log about the child’s headache frequencies, pain location, time of occurrence, symptoms, etc.
also helps. If not due to illness, headaches can also be a result of head injury. Sometimes, headache can be hereditary, like in the case of migraines.
Headaches can also be caused because of infections, vision problems, odd levels of blood pressure, neurological problems, muscle weakness, improper ear balance or serious problems such as tumor, blood clots, etc.
If the doctor is not able to diagnose the problem, he/she can refer the child to a headache specialist or neurologist. Test such as CT scan or MRI are done if there is a serious problem.
After the diagnosis, the doctor prescribes medication or will ask to take over the counter medicines. According to a study, children who face headaches and migraine take overdose of over the counter medicines for immediate pain reliving.
In some of the cases, the parents are clueless about this situation. This practice is risky and mostly children above six years are involved in such cases.
Running into Migraines
Exercise is good for you. Being fit will help your whole body feel better, including your migraines, right? So why did your headache specialist just tell you to drop out of this weekend’s 10K if you want to be able to go to work on Monday?
A regular exercise program is a great migraine deterrent, but it needs to be the right kind of exercise. Many workout types put a real strain on the cardiovascular system and scientists have linked migraines to vascular problems in the temporal artery, among other potential causes.
Migraineurs who want to sweat need to warm up, slowly, for about fifteen minutes prior to any strenuous exertion, whether it is exercise or home repair. Skipping this warm up is nearly a guarantee that a migraine will be interrupting your plans later in the day.
While any exertion can be good or bad and each migraineur is different, there are a few types of exercise that are notorious for bringing down the head.
* Aerobics: high-intensity aerobics classes are a trigger for many women, especially when the cardio-pounding workout is paired with loud music.
* Biking: Whether it is competitive cycling or spinning class at the club, this is a major trigger for many.
* Running: Any kind of running that involves hard-core exertion, especially endurance events like marathons and triathlons.
You may be able to keep doing these things, especially if you really enjoy them, but you need to think about toning down the endurance aspect.
Cycling should be for pleasure and exercise but not competitive. Replace high impact aerobics classes with dance, yoga, or free weight aerobics.
Reduce the distance you run and see if it helps with the migraines. There is no reason a migraineur cannot be fit, just do not run yourself into a migraine.
Migraine is a throbbing headache, usually on one side of the head that gets worse by light and noise and is usually followed by nausea and vomiting.
Migraine usually affects people 18 and older. It tends to recur periodically but what really causes migraines is not well understood.
The attack lasts couple of hours to several days and has a tendency to relapse. Even after the pain is gone, mild sensation could lasts for weeks. In some cases, attacks can disappear for weeks, months, or even years.
Some women have migraines just before, during, or just after menstrual periods.
Stress, insomnia, over sleeping, and hunger may also trigger migraines.
Cheese (pizza) is also a triggering factor in some people, while in others it only aggravates an already existing condition.
Usually Migraine is preceded by a sensation such as salty taste in the tongue, aura, nausea, flashing lights and blind spots.
MOST COMMON CAUSES OF MIGRAINE
Foggy weather (High Ozone level)
Tension and stress
Too much Caffeine
Lack of Caffeine
Lack of sleep
Change in sleep pattern
Migraines are diagnosed based on symptoms. No procedure can determine the diagnosis.
In a migraine, throbbing pain is felt on one side of the head.
The pain may be mild but could become severe. Physical activity, light, sounds, or smells may make the headache worse. The headache is often followed by nausea, and vomiting.
A migraine attack often involves more than just a headache. A number of people also experience an aura preceding an attack.
They see uneven, glittering, or flashing lights. The aura occurs within the hour before the attack and ends as the migraine begins.
People can avoid exacerbating aspects of Migraine by paying more attention to the triggering cause of the pain. Since the cause varies from person to person,
it is imperative that the patient keeps track of all the things that happened before the attack to see if there is a trend involved. Avoiding that cause would definitely relieve the frequency of the occurrence.
For instance, in some people caffeine may be a factor while in others over-sleeping is. Some may get the attack only after they have eaten pizza or any other product containing cheese. Avoiding that may help prevent the attack in future.
The key is to take the medicine right at the onset of the attack.
Patient should close the eyes and lie down in a dark and quite room during an attack.
Most commonly used drugs are regular analgesics available over the counter like Tylenol, Aspirin or ibuprofen (Advil).
Preventive drugs include the beta-blockers like Atenolol or Calcium channel blockers.
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) may help reduce the intensity and the frequency of migraine attack.
This because people who get migraine are believed to have abnormally low levels of energy reserves in their brains, and vitamin B2 (riboflavin) enhances the energy supplies.
Herbs such as Ginkgo and Feverfew helps in lowering the intensity of the pain.
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