Some of my earliest memories are of Migraine and vomiting at school as early as kindergarten. Migraine is more than a headache – it is a neurological disorder that manifests predominantly as pain. A child with Migraine may experience abdominal symptoms with no headache at all.
Migraine can be genetic – half of my children also have Migraine. As children with Migraine, we are not alone. NFL Hall of Famer Terrell Davis experienced his first Migraine at age nine and has battled attacks on and off the field ever since.
Migraine is the third most prevalent and sixth most debilitating disease in the world. The American Migraine Foundationreports that infant colic may be a precursor to childhood Migraine ()
Migraine does not consider gender, culture, or economic status, and Migraine attacks can begin at any age.
Migraine has no cure. But it can be managed through healthy routine, medication, and eliminating triggers.
Some children have clear triggers, and as long as triggers are avoided, Migraine is limited to rare breakthrough attacks. Common Migraine triggers include:
While some children respond to predictable triggers, other children experience Migraine that is not so easily managed.
In my family, we have not eliminated attacks completely, but we have reduced the severity of attacks with healthy lifestyle recommendations, like:
Make sure your child routinely gets adequate sleep. The National Sleep Foundation recommends ():
Try to get your child on a consistent routine, with the same bedtime and wake up time each day.
Days end pleasantly when bedtime is shrouded in routine. Because media stimulates the brain and delays sleep, turn off devices one hour before bedtime.
Children begin to calm as they play board games, build with Legos, color, play with play dough, and read books. Utilize the soothing qualities of water with a before-bed bath.
Fill the young tummy with healthy nutrition that will balance blood sugar. Meals and snacks that combine protein, carbs, and fat and are low in sugar are best.
Ideas include oatmeal with cream, half a tuna sandwich, peanut butter on a banana, hummus and carrots, a hardboiled egg, or yogurt and granola.
Dehydration is a common Migraine trigger. Try to teach your child with Migraine healthy hydrating habits by beginning each day with a large glass of water.
Regardless of your child’s behavior that day, showing affection and saying “I love you,” are essential to reduce anxiety and assure your child of your constant and unconditional love.H
When it comes to children with Migraine, the first step is to understand how the child feels, how often the child feels uncomfortable, what triggers pain, and what restores health.
When a child has Migraine pain, these tips may help:
Children who have difficulty sleeping appreciate being read to or hearing soft classical music.
As a parent, trust your gut, and team up with professionals to form a strategy to treat your child. Consult with a proactive pediatrician to curb Migraine attacks early. Getting ahead of the pain cycle protects your child’s quality of life.
Some family doctors will have sufficient training to help manage outbreaks. Your doctor may refer you to a pediatric neurologist, and you can ask for a referral to a doctor who specializes in Migraine.
Testing for allergies often uncovers a significant trigger. Like my daughter who is allergic to mint and nuts, Migraine attacks can be a response to allergens.
For my children, wearing glasses, prescription or clear, with blue-light blocking lenses at school and during screen time has reduced headaches.
Pain drains our energy and following a Migraine, children commonly need recovery time. At our house, we refer to the postdrome phase as Migraine hangover.
As the adult in their lives, be generous with empathy, compassion, comfort, and guidance.
With your child, meet and talk to medical professionals. Encourage your child to dialog with the doctor about his or her unique Migraine pain.
It is never easy to see our children in pain. Migraine may demand sacrifices, but it also brings blessings. My children are capable of great empathy. They understand when someone does not feel well. They are children with Migraine. Like Terrell Davis, my children are learning to have full lives despite Migraine.