Migraines in Kids: 9 Crucial Ways to Help Them Deal with It


Migraines in children are an important matter that needs relief. Migraines are not just harsher headaches, they affect kids severely. A migraine is a complex neurological condition accompanied by intense head pain.

What are the Symptoms of Migraines in Children?

Children generally experience fewer and shorter migraines compared to adults. However, for children, these episodes can be more unbearable. Migraines can affect a child’s quality of life. 

Here is a list of migraine symptoms that need your attention:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Neck pain
  • Sensitivity to sound, light, certain smells, and touch
  • Mood swings
  • Visual changes
  • Pain usually on one side of the head (although it can also be on both sides)
  • Problems concentrating
  • Weakness
  • Vertigo and dizziness

Migraines are to a certain extent common among children. In fact, children as young as 18 months old have already exhibited early signs of migraines. Here is a list of interesting facts about children with migraine as reported by the Migraine Research Foundation

  • At least 10 percent of school-age children experience migraines. 
  • Half of those kids who suffer from migraines had their first attack before they turned 12. 
  • Boys have more migraines than girls. They experience migraines before they go through puberty.
  • After puberty, girls are known to suffer more migraines than boys.
  • At 17, as many as 8 percent of boys and 23 percent of girls have already experienced migraine.
  • A kid with a single parent who has migraines has a 50 percent chance of getting the same condition. On the other hand, a child with both parents who suffer from migraines has a 75 percent chance. 
  • More than 50 percent of those kids with migraines have a relative or family member with the same condition. 

When children in your life have migraines, they also are more prone to develop a type of anxiety related to anticipating when the next migraine will trigger. As a result, children often miss school and many extra curricular activities. Children with migraines are frequently absent in class than those without this condition. 

What Triggers Migraines in Kids?

To deal with something like migraines, it is crucial to learn about the triggers so that kids can avoid attacks.

Migraines are thought to have specific triggers. Here they are:

  • Bright and flashing lights
  • Caffeine from coffee
  • Dehydration
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Low blood sugar
  • Chemical additives - MSG, aspartame, sulphates
  • Loud noises
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Stress
  • Allergic reaction to certain types of food
  • Other environmental contaminants and mold

Food triggers may include:

  • Alcohol
  • Aged cheese
  • Chocolate
  • Citrus
  • Pork
  • Nuts
  • Fatty and/or fried foods
  • Cured meats and nitrates found in salami, hot dogs, and bacon
  • Wheat

Various studies showed that migraines can be connected to sensitivities or allergies to particular food such as wheat. A children’s hospital in London surveyed 88 patients suffering from frequent and severe migraines to cut down on their food allergen intake. As a result, 93 percent of those migraine sufferers became headache-free! When the human body is low in nutrients, particularly magnesium and B vitamins, migraines are more likely to appear. 

Steps To Help Kids with Migraines

If a child experiences migraines, you can act on the following suggestions to relieve and reduce the frequency and severity. 

  1. Take the children in your life to be tested for food and environmental allergies.
  2. Give the kid more sleep time especially when a migraine is about to appear. 
  3. Help them recognize the early warning signs that a migraine is coming so that your child can prepare and act accordingly. The kid may choose to relax and lie down and prepare to sleep to avoid the pain of an incoming migraine.
  4. Keep them on a regular menu of meals to avoid low blood sugar.
  5. Include walnuts, salmon, and other good sources of omega-3 fatty acids. These have been shown to be effective in reducing migraines. A recent study reported that 60 percent of those with migraines who took fish oil reported a reduction of 40 to 50 percent in the severity and frequency of headaches. 
  6. Foods with magnesium are also vital, such as seeds, nuts, beans, and avocados. 
  7. Vitamin B2 or Riboflavin should be included in the child’s diet in the form of eggs, and leafy greens.
  8. Avoid all the potential triggers of allergies for 1 month. Observe if migraines increase or decrease.
  9. Keep a migraine journal. Let the kid write down food intake, activities done recently, and other possible triggers. This will help avoid future migraines from happening by avoiding those triggers. 

Natural Relief for Kids with Migraines

Finding relief for kids with migraines is a huge challenge for parents. Most parents wish to avoid medications due to fear of side effects. For this reason, parents often don’t know where to seek help.

Fortunately, one area seeing positive results and success is that of upper chiropractic care. Unknown by many, migraines can stem from a misalignment of the C1 or C2 vertebra of the upper cervical spine. This natural form of care is safe for kids and adults. It is a gentle method that does not require popping or cracking of the spine to see results. Upper cervical chiropractors only do gentle adjustments to the areas where the misalignment needs correction. Thus, the gentle approach encourages the misaligned bones to move back in place without pain or alarm.

Upper cervical care helps kids with migraines.  This procedure realigns the C1 and C2 vertebrae when they are out of alignment. These bones protect the brainstem. However, when they are out of alignment, they can put the brainstem under pressure and stress. Thus, it causes the brainstem to send improper signals to the brain. This often results in migraines. The misalignment can easily occur from trauma, sporting injuries, tripping and falling when learning to walk or when playing, and any kind of blow to the head or neck. Once corrected, children and adults can see their migraines improve or even go away just like in case studies.

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The content and materials provided in this web site are for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to supplement or comprise a medical diagnosis or other professional opinion, or to be used in lieu of a consultation with a physician or competent health care professional for medical diagnosis and/or treatment. All content and materials including research papers, case studies and testimonials summarizing patients' responses to care are intended for educational purposes only and do not imply a guarantee of benefit. Individual results may vary, depending upon several factors including age of the patient, severity of the condition, severity of the spinal injury, and duration of time the condition has been present.