Signs of Migraines in Children (From Infants to Teens)


Migraines are a common neurological disorder that continues to affect more people by the day. Children are no exception. According to a report, more or less 39 million American men, women, and children alike have them.

As adults, it may be difficult to imagine children suffering from migraines. Many parents dismiss their kid’s migraines as another ordinary headache. This actually contributes to why most cases in children are undiagnosed.

Facts About Migraines in Children

Here’s a list of some critical facts about migraines in children. Migraine Research Foundation shared all this information in their blog.

  • About 10% of school-age children deal with migraines.
  • Children as young as 18 months showed consistent symptoms of it.
  • Many people get their first attack before the age of 12.
  • Migraines and infant colic and may have a link. In fact, the latter may be an early form of a migraine.
  • Approximately 23% of girls and 8% of boys had experienced an attack by the time they reached 17.
  • Genes play a role in migraines. A child with a migraineur parent is 50% more likely to get them as well. If both parents are migraineurs, the risk climbs up to 75%.

Warning Signs of Migraines in Children

Similar to adults, children with the condition may experience some of these symptoms:

  • Throbbing or pounding headache
  • Oversensitivity to sound, light, touch, and certain smells
  • Mood swings
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain

Signs and symptoms of migraines may differ depending on the age of the child. Here’s a quick summary of how different age groups of children display symptoms.

  • Infants – Occasional banging of the head is present. 
  • Preschool children – They may look sick or become irritable. Often, kids this age have an intense desire to sleep. Vomiting and abdominal pain are their common complaints. They may rock or cry and hide in a dark place.
  • Children between 5 to 10 years old – Most of them experience severe pain in the front, back, or sides of the head. Some accompanying symptoms they may show are nausea, vomiting, sleepiness, excessive thirst, abdominal cramping, diarrhea, increased urination, and sensitivity to sound and light.
  • Older children and teenagers They may complain of more frequent and longer headaches. The headache is often unilateral and feels like a pulsing or throbbing sensation.

The Toll Migraines Take on Children’s Life

Compared to adults, children have shorter and fewer attacks. However, their migraines can be just as debilitating and disruptive for their health and quality of life.

Children who are migraineurs frequently miss school and inactive in participating in school activities. Teens with migraines can develop anticipatory anxiety, which occurs due to constant worry about the next possible episode.

Some children and teens experience chronic migraines, which means they have more than 15 attacks per month. Only those who get migraines for three months or more in a row get a diagnosis of chronic migraines.

Teenagers may experience other symptoms such as daily headaches, sleep problems, cognitive issues, dizziness, fatigue, anxiety, and depression.

Tips for Adults on How to Relieve Migraines in Children

If there are children in your life with migraines and you want to help them, the first thing you must do is ask them to take a rest during an attack. Also, encourage them to reduce their stress and avoid triggers.

Doctors often educate families about migraines. Their common recommendations to prevent attacks are as follows:

  • Parents and the child, through the help of a doctor, should both learn about migraines and their symptoms.
  • The child should keep a diary to find his or her personal triggers.
  • Parents should show the importance of regular sleeping and routine meal schedule. There should not be unnecessary activities on a child’s schedule.
  • Together, both the parents and the child should determine what is triggering the child’s attacks and cautiously avoid them.

Here are some other suggestions to help ease the pain during attacks:

  • Lie down the child in a dark, cold room and to sleep
  • Put an ice pack on the child’s head or neck
  • Try relaxation techniques to the child

Natural Pain Reliever for Migraines

Relying on medications can help ease the pain of migraines for the time being, but focusing on its root cause is the solution for long-term relief. 

In a study involving 101 migraine patients, researchers found a connection between migraines and a misalignment in the upper cervical spine. If either the C1 or C2 bone gets misaligned, migraine is a likely result. This can occur in both children and adults. 

These two bones are vulnerable to misalignment than any other bones in the spine due to their flexibility to move in many different directions. They hold a crucial job of protecting the brainstem. Therefore, their misalignment can result in damage in the brainstem, leading to abnormal blood flow to and from the brain. Even more, it can affect the other functions of the central nervous system.

Upper cervical chiropractors use a gentle technique to adjust the bones and return them in their proper positions. Their corrections are often the vehicle of the body to start its course of natural restoration. Once successful, the brain and body can communicate properly once again. In addition, the whole nervous system can resume its optimum performance. 

Many children and adults experience improvements in their migraines under upper cervical chiropractic care. Some even report complete resolution of their migraine episodes.

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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.