Headaches in children and teenagers is common and most children suffer from headaches at least once a year. What are the causes of these headaches? Let’s find out.
Headaches are a common problem seen in children. According to statistics about 4 to 10% children suffer from migraine headaches. Most of the headaches in children are benign, and do not point to anything serious. However, these headaches often may interfere with the daily or routine activities of the children. The headaches with fever are often a part of flu or are sinus headaches. Headaches accompanied by vomiting need medical attention.
Causes of Headaches in Children
There are a number of reasons, which can cause frequent headaches. They are:
Upper Respiratory Infections
It can be caused due to upper respiratory infections, like common cold, flu, sore throat or sinusitis. In case the child suffers from fever and headache, and the headache is worsening, then seek medical advice immediately.
Migraine headaches are hereditary and run in families. There are two types of migraines, which can be seen in children, namely classic migraine and common migraine. In classic migraines, the headaches are accompanied by nausea, vomiting, visual changes or pain in one side of the head. On the other hand, common migraines do not accompany vomiting, but get better with sleep.
Tension is commonly known to cause headaches. The symptoms of headaches are described as dull and steady. They can occur daily and are often triggered by stress. Sometimes, tension headaches get better after sleep, sometimes they may not get better with sleep.
Meningitis is an infection of the central nervous system, that is accompanied by fever, stiff neck, vomiting, irritability, lethargy, seizures, poor appetite, low blood pressure, rashes, etc. This is one of the serious infection and medical help should be sought for immediately. Often antibiotics are prescribed to treat bacterial meningitis.
Does your child always complain about headaches, light sensitivity or sits very close to the T.V.? When children have poor eyesight, they may suffer form eye strain headaches. Take the child for a vision screening test, to negate the chances of poor vision.
Headaches are a warning sign of brain tumor, when they are accompanied by persistent vomiting, seizures, headache during sleep, etc. If you notice, that the child has been waking up with headaches, then you may not want to waste time, and consult the physician. In some cases, the headache may worsen, when the child is lying down, or when the child coughs or sneezes. Double vision can also be caused due to brain tumor.
Accidental bumps and bruises can also give rise to headaches. Not all head injuries are serious, but if the child falls hard on his or her head, then you may not want to waste any time, and visit a pediatrician. The symptoms should not be neglected, if the headaches worsen.
Change in weather often causes headaches not only in children, but also in adults. Depending on the weather some home remedies for headaches can be given to the child.
There are certain foods, which contain mono-sodium glutamate (MSG), like bacon, bologna, hotdogs, can trigger headaches. Caffeine rich food like soda, chocolate, coffee, tea can also give rise to this condition.
When to Worry
When the headaches become frequent or severe, then is the time to talk to the health care professional. Looking at the symptoms, the physician may carry out some tests like CT scan or an MRI, etc. to rule out anything serious. The symptoms, which you will have to look out for include, headaches, which cause the child to wake up from sleep, worsening or more frequent headaches.
If the child vomits without nausea or an upset stomach, then you will not want to waste time. The other symptoms are personality changes, the headache is different than the previous headaches, or if the child complaints of the headache being the worst headache. If fever, stiff neck accompany fever or if the headaches have started after an injury, then you may not want to waste any time, and visit the pediatrician immediately.
It is important to note that most headaches are common headaches and may not point to something serious all the time. However, if you notice anything different in the headaches, then you will not want to let it pass.