Headache in Children: Beyond Basics
Headaches can be a real hassle, and they affect kids differently based on their age and the type of headache they’re dealing with. There are two main categories: primary headaches, where the headache itself is the issue, and secondary headaches, where it’s a symptom of another problem. In children, the primary culprits are usually migraine and tension-type headaches, while secondary headaches are often linked to infections or head injuries.
Infection or Injury-Related Headaches:
Infections: Headaches can be a part of a systemic infection or even a localized infection in or around the brain. The good news is, when the infection improves, the headache usually does too. If not, there might be another cause for the headache.
Viral or Upper Respiratory Infections: These can often bring on headaches in kids. They tend to stick around for the duration of the illness and come with other symptoms like fever, sensitivity to light, neck stiffness, and more.
Infection of the Brain or Surrounding Tissues: Now, these are more serious infections like encephalitis or meningitis. They typically come with a host of other symptoms such as fever, confusion, and seizures, making them quite concerning.
Head Injuries: Minor head injuries, including concussions, are another common headache trigger. Typically, these headaches last a few hours, and most kids recover within a week or so. However, if the headache sticks around after other head injury symptoms have faded, it might be something else.
Primary Headache Disorders:
Tension-Type Headaches (TTH): These cause a pressing tightness around the head or neck, usually not too severe. Some kids with TTH might also experience nausea, sensitivity to light or noise, or feel a bit lightheaded or tired. These headaches don’t usually lead to vomiting and don’t get worse with regular activities.
Migraine: Migraine is a recurring condition with symptoms that change as kids grow. In younger children, it might show up as colic or torticollis. As they get older, the pain becomes more intense, typically on the forehead, and it’s often accompanied by nausea, sensitivity to light and noise, and sometimes vomiting.
Cluster Headaches: Fortunately, these are rare in children under 10 but more common in adults, particularly men. They’re intense, short-lived headaches, usually on one side of the head, and can come with other symptoms like eye redness, a runny nose, and drooping eyelids.
If your child experiences persistent or severe headaches, seeking medical advice is crucial to ensure their well-being- do not hesitate to contact us anytime. Headaches can be challenging, but with the right knowledge and proper guidance, we can help our children navigate these uncomfortable moments and, most importantly, keep them healthy and happy