My daughter gets headaches. At least once a week, she comes home from school, drops her backpack and heads straight for the darkest and quietest room in the house. The milder headaches come and go, but once in a while she finds the pain so extreme that she sleeps for an entire day. Does this sound familiar? Join the growing number of families who are looking for solutions for their child’s recurring headaches.
Good information to have, but how do we get to the root of the headache when it is happening to your own child? We as parents often feel helpless with the number of possible roads to take to find a solution.
The answer may be as simple as eating more often. Dr. Allan Bernardi, a practicing Optometrist in London, Ontario, who has worked with families for 25 year, offers this advice, “Some headaches can be triggered when blood sugars in the body fall below a particular level. These blood sugar levels can be kept more even simply by snacking throughout the day. We should be like cattle grazing all day rather than expanding our stomachs three times a day.” This would offer a great solution to children who do not eat at school and come home with headaches.
If your child is suffering, you may find the following checklist helpful. You may not necessarily be familiar with some of the treatments listed below, but it never hurts to find out more about them. Choose what is right for your child.
Steps to helping your child become headache free:
- A visit to your health care provider can rule out any medical conditions that may be causing the pain such as:
- Migraines etc.
- Is your child getting enough sleep?
- Is your child dehydrated?
- Look at the child’s diet and keep a headache journal showing what the child did, what they ate/drank, what activities they participated in, how they are feeling, what happened at school that day, was the classroom too hot/cold, was there a lot of noise, etc. Take note of the weather to help identify if it is a barometric pressure headache. You will be able to spot some common triggers easily by documenting these key items.
- Visit an Optometrist. Does your child need glasses? Or perhaps their prescription has changed.
- Could it be stress? Yes, kids get stressed out, just like adults. The Psychology Foundation of Canada provides some straight-forward videos on Stress and Children.
- According to Bullying.org, headaches could be a sign that your child is being bullied. Sit down and talk to your child about school and their friends. Get involved at their school and stay connected with what is important to them.
- Look at alternative medicines such as: Naturopathy, Homeopathy, Massage, Chiropractic, Acupuncture, Energy Healing etc. Yonina Chernick BAKin, RMT, CST-D suggests that CranioSacral Therapy may help. “With CranioSacral Therapy we’re looking at tensions in the connective tissue, so that means that all areas of the body would be assessed to determine the true origin of the headache symptoms. In-utero positioning, birth process, injuries and poor posture can be contributors to tightness and restriction of fascia with resulting fatigue and pain.” Simply put kids…sit up straight!
- Could the headaches be caused by the environment the child is in such as: does someone smoke in the house, is there mold or dust at home/school that would cause health issues, does the child breath in noxious fumes, do they spend too much time in front of a computer, TV or video games?
- If you have tried all of the above suggestions, perhaps it is time to book a meeting with a counselor or Social Worker.
Stay proactive until you have found the triggers and found the best solution for your child. Keep working with your health care team to help your child live a pain-free life.
Editor’s note: It is interesting that upon completing this article, I found more information on how Botox, commonly used to reduce wrinkles, is helping adolescents become pain free of their daily chronic headaches. An injection could relieve their pain for a few months. Interesting that there is finally a beneficial use for this vain beauty treatment!
What work’s for your child? Send us an email to share.
Please note: The information on this website is not intended to replace or substitute the individualized care that you and your children receive from a qualified health care professional.