Migraines really sap your energy and leave you tired and feeling unwell for many days at a time. This is hard enough for adults to cope with but even more difficult for children who get migraines. In fact, it seems downright unfair for a child to have to deal with the pain of migraines. Unfortunately, it does happen. In fact, many children with migraines grow up to have migraines as an adult. The following facts about children and migraines may surprise you:
- As many as 10 percent of school-age children have migraines.
- Boys have more migraines than girls before puberty hits. After puberty, girls have more migraines than boys.
- If a child has one parent with migraines, he or she has a 50 percent chance of getting them. If both parents suffer from migraines, the child will have a 75 percent chance of migraines.
- Migraines are often underdiagnosed in children.
- More than half of migraine sufferers have their first attack before age 12. Migraines have been seen in infants as young as 18 months old. Recently, colic has been theorized to be an early form of migraines.
How to Recognize Migraines in Children
It is important to note that migraines are not just really bad headaches. In fact, a headache is only a symptom of a migraine, albeit the most prominent one. Migraines are actually a complex neurological condition. They may have the following symptoms:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Throbbing and pounding head pain
- Dizziness or vertigo
- Sensitivity to light, sound, or certain smells
- Abdominal pain and discomfort.
When it comes to children and migraines, their attacks usually occur less often and are shorter in nature. However, they can be just as debilitating. Migraines affect a child’s life quality. The child often is forced to miss out on social and family activities, leading to feeling depressed or anxious about the onset of the next migraine.
Migraines in children are more common than most people realize. By the age of 17, as many as 23 percent of girls and 8 percent of boys have had a migraine at least one time. Migraines remain a mystery among researchers and the medical community. This is true for both adults and children. However, a combination of both environmental and genetic factors seem to play a role. More than 50 percent of those with migraines also have a relative suffering from migraines as well.
The Disabling Effects of Migraines on Young People
Even though children often get less severe symptoms than adults, they stiff suffer. Migraines hold children back from really enjoying life. They may cause children to develop anxiety because they do not know when the next migraine will hit. This can cause them to avoid committing to spending time with their friends. Most children with migraines do not take part in after-school activities or play sports. In addition, children with migraines miss school twice as much as children without migraines.
Adolescents often have chronic migraines, occurring for more than 15 days during a month’s time. These are one of the most debilitating migraine types. They can last anywhere from 4 hours to 3 months! For most teens, this feels like having a daily headache, and often that is just what it is. In addition to headaches, these youths often experience additional symptoms:
- Sleep deprivation or other issues
- Problems concentrating
- Extreme fatigue
Chronic migraines are difficult to cope with and definitely have a negative impact on a child’s life quality.
Jacob’s Experience with Migraines
Jacob Hollady is a 12-year-old boy who was suffering from migraines. His story was featured on ABC news. He was admitted to Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles, California because he had been suffering for 5 days with a horrendous migraine. He said his pain was on both sides of his head near his temples, but mostly on the left side. His mother reported how he had missed 2 weeks of school previously and now had missed an entire week due to this migraine. Jacob was suffering, and there is not one medication the FDA has approved for children to take. So, what are parents to do when their child is in pain like Jacob?
Natural, Safe, and Effective Relief for Migraines
Finding relief for migraines can be tricky because no one really understands why they occur. It is agreed upon that they are neurological in origin, but no traditional way to care for them has been 100 percent successful. However, upper cervical chiropractors are seeing much success in caring for their patients with migraines, no matter their age.
A misalignment in the C1 or C2 vertebra of the neck has been seen to be an underlying cause of migraines. Because of their ability to let the head move in many directions, these bones misalign very easily. It only takes a mild blow to the head to cause these bones to move out of place. In fact something as simple as childbirth can make these bones misalign. Even falling when learning to walk can be an issue as well. Playing outside, riding a bike, playing sports, or other childhood activities are enough to cause these bones to misalign. When out of alignment, these bones can put the brainstem under stress and cause it to send improper signals to the brain. This can be a reason migraines occur.
We use a gentle method to realign these bones. It is safe for children and adults alike. In fact, even infants can have this type of adjustment without any negative effects. This is, in part, due to the fact that we do not pop or crack the neck or spine to get positive results. Once these bones are realigned and communication is restored between the brain and the body, the end result can be relief from migraines as has been seen in numerous studies.