Headaches. As adults nearly everyone has experienced one at one time or another but did you know that nearly 90 percent of school age children also experience headaches? Whether brought on by lack of sleep, stress, allergies or other environmental factors or something more serious such as migraine pain, the occasional headache is usually nothing to worry about. So when should you be concerned that your child may need to see a doctor if he or she is experiencing headaches?
There are several factors that play a role in why a child might be prone to headaches from genetics to illness, environmental or emotional factors, head trauma or even certain foods and beverages. Children experience the same types of headaches that adults do, however the WAY in which they feel the headache may be different. Headaches in children are typically shorter in duration that those in adults and are usually felt all over the head rather than only on one side. Headaches in children can be hard to diagnose and treat but there are some common triggers that one can watch for including:
- Too little sleep or sudden changes in sleep patterns
- Skipping meals
- Changes in hormone levels, such as during menstruation
- Drinking or eating too much caffeine, such as in soda, coffee, tea, and chocolate
- Consuming certain foods, such as cheese, nuts, pizza, chocolate, fatty or fried food, or anything with the food additive MSG
- Sensory stimuli, such as bright lights, loud sounds, or unusual smells
All headaches are classified as either primary, or not related to any other cause or disease, or secondary, resulting from another underlying cause. Primary headaches are far more common and less worrisome than secondary headaches. There are several types of primary headaches that affect children, adolescents and adults today but the most common headaches afflicting children and adolescents are migraine and tension type headaches. According to a recent article in Neurology Now, five to 10 percent of children and 10 to 20 percent of adolescents experience migraine headaches while 15 to 20 percent of adolescents suffer from tension headaches while an estimated one to 24 percent of children experience this type of headache pain. Also classified as primary headaches, but with much lower instances occurring in children are cluster headaches and chronic daily headaches. New daily persistent headaches also occur in all age groups but the frequency is difficult to determine.
So when should you call a doctor? While it is rare that a child’s headache is an indicator of something more serious, if any of the following reasons apply, you should consult a doctor.
- If the headache occurs at least once a month
- Keep him or her out of school
- Follows an injury, such as a blow to the head
- Awaken him or her from sleep
- Is accompanied by persistent vomiting or visual changes
- Are accompanied by fever, along with neck pain or stiffness
Treatment can be difficult for children so preventing headaches when possible is the best course of action. Making sure the child gets enough sleep, healthy foods and if you notice the onset of a headache, encouraging the child to take a nap can all help alleviate symptoms. If the child does require treatment, chiropractic neurology makes a wonderful choice when considering the best course. While may people may not think of any doctor outside the pediatrician seeing their child, chiropractic neurology treats children with no drug therapy and non-invasive measures focused on correcting the root of the problem. It is incredibly important for children to have correctly aligned spines as they grow and develop, ensuring that they do not develop scoliotic curvatures and that their neurological function is at an optimal level.
Is your child suffering from headaches and you are unsure of the best course of treatment? Have you or your child been to a pediatrictian or your family medical doctor but are still suffering from headache pain? Dr. Marc Ellis and his team at the Georgia Chiropractic Neurology Center can help. Dr. Ellis has a history of effective treatment plans for patients who have been to numerous doctors and have explored many of the more traditional therapies without a positive result. His advanced applications and combined approach to the treatment of headache pain has been proven successful time and time again. An instructor with the Carrick Institute, Dr. Ellis teaches other physicians the best means by which to diagnose and treat patients through complex and informative presentations. To learn more about how this innovative and highly effective treatment plan can help your child, call the Georgia Chiropractic Neurology Center today.