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Migraines In Kids An Overview of Causes, Signs And Therapy
Migraine headaches occur surprisingly frequently among children. They usually report a throbbing, severe pain. The pain can last as long as 2 hours to 2 days. It is believed that as many as 5% to 25% of kids have periodic migraines. Migraine headaches in children may be classified broadly as common migraines and classic migraines.
Causes Of Migranes In Children:
There are several theories including the vascular theory, mutation of genes, cortical-spreading depression, sterile inflammation process, changes in serotonin levels, nitrous oxide, and mitochondrial dysfunctions.
Certain other factors that can cause migraine headaches in kids are changes in their altitude changes, sleeping pattern, intense physical activities, intense odors, piercing noises, powerful bright lights, and fasting.
Certain foods, too, can cause migraine headaches in kids such as aspartame, aged, canned, or processed foods, caffeine, pickled and marinated foods, chocolates, cheeses, and those including MSG (mono sodium glutamate).
Subcategories Of Migraine Headaches
Subcategories of migraine headaches are categorized as Retinal Migraine, Benign Paroxysmal Vertigo of Childhood, Status Migrainosus, Migraine-Associated Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome, and Acephalic Migraine of Childhood.
Stages Of Migraine Headaches In Kids
There are four stages of migraine: the prodrome, the aura, the pain, and the postdrome phases.
Prodrome: This phase is when classic signs of the migraine begin, usually several hours in advance of onset of a migraine and perhaps even 48 hours in advance. The child complains of alterations occur in their dietary pattern, photo-and phonosensitivity, and they may feel tired, are unhappy and irritable.
Aura: This stage is seen only in classic migraine sufferers. The child complains of seeing auras, which could be positive or negative auras. An aura is described as seeing shimmering lights, shapes, and zigzag lines, termed a positive aura or as experiencing dark holes, blind spots, tunnel vision, referred to as a negative aura. Some kids may suffer from a combination of both aura types. The aura usually occurs half an hour before a migraine headache and lasts for about 10 to 30 minutes. During the aura phase, the child may feel tingling in their hands and legs, experience trouble speaking, amnesia, attention loss, experience, dizziness, loss of coordination and may feel disoriented.
Pain: The children suffer unbearable pain and may look pale and be ill during an attack. They could have pulsing on one portion of the head, in the forehead, or over their whole head during this stage. The pain intensifies as a result of physical activity. Their face prickles and they may complain of being cold, experience numbness, are extremely light and sound sensitive, and have nausea. Aversion to eating, heavy perspiring, diarrhea/constipation, hypersensitity to smells, throwing up, and clumsiness are other frequent complaints.
Postdrome: The pain and other symptoms go away leaving the child feeling weak, listless, and wiped-out, often for as much as 2 days.
Parents can help by seeing to it that the child sleeps well, eats nutritious food, exercises regularly and avoids known triggers, such as any foods that could bring on an attack. Click here for more information on common migraine headache food triggers.
Doctors usually give them preventative medicines such as, amitriptyline and propranolol, which many parents do not care for because of the possibility for rebound headaches.
Herbal treatments including butter root, ginger tea, feverfew, gingko and valerian root juices are reportedly effective. Exercise, meditation, nutritional supplements including vitamin B2, biofeedback therapy, yoga, relaxation therapy and aromatherapy are also effective in cutting occurrences of migraine headaches in children by 50%.
Supporting Your Child Through A Migraine Attack
The child can rest in a cool, dark room that is as noise-free as possible. A wet cloth or an ice pack can be used, too. Make sure that the child recognizes the symptoms and takes medications that are prescribed by the doctor.
If parents and child learn the symptoms and learn to identify triggers, they can cut the occurrence of migraine headaches in half or more.