General Phone: (281) 298-1144

Are Your Child’s Headaches a Cause for Concern?

Children and teens frequently develop common tension headaches. But they’re also susceptible to serious headaches like migraines.

About 10% of children aged 5-15 years get migraines. That number rises to 28% of teens. And, surprisingly, half of all kids have their first migraine before the age of 12.

As specialists in children’s headaches, THINK Neurology for Kids talks with a lot of parents. One of the most frequent questions they encounter is how parents can know when their child’s headache needs medical care.

Don’t hesitate to call us with any questions about your child’s headache symptoms. In the meantime, here’s a guide to help you spot the warning signs and know when your child needs a thorough evaluation.

You should be concerned when your child’s headache:

Occurs after a fall or injury

You child may suffer a seemingly harmless fall on the playground or at home. Or they could take an intense hit during sports. No matter how minor the injury seems — and even if your child appears fine afterward — a headache after an injury signals a concussion.

Your child could have a headache without other concussion symptoms such as dizziness, confusion, or memory loss. And don’t rule out a concussion just because your child didn’t bang their head.

Anything that forces a whiplash-type head movement can lead to a concussion. For example, a forceful impact during a tackle can cause head movement that makes the brain bounce against the skull.

Concussions should always be carefully evaluated. A mild concussion still affects your child’s brain function and a full recovery depends on proper treatment.

Appears along with emergency symptoms

Headaches accompanied by any of the following symptoms require emergency attention:

A headache that occurs with these symptoms could be a sign of meningitis or encephalitis.

Resembles a migraine

Migraines are always a concern because they’re chronic, extremely painful, and affect your child’s success at school. You can usually recognize a migraine because it causes severe pain on one side of the head. In some cases, the pain may involve both sides.

Migraines are typically accompanied by nausea, vomiting, vision changes, and sensitivity to light and sound. About one-third of children experience a sensation called aura.

Aura occurs shortly before your child’s migraine starts. They may experience vision changes such as flashes of light, or they could hear noises, have uncontrollable movements, or experience sensations like tingling.

We can help children who have migraines with treatments that reduce the severity and frequency of their headaches. We also work with parents to identify and reduce the things that trigger their child’s migraines.

Doesn’t improve, worsens, or keeps coming back

Any type of headache should be evaluated if it doesn’t improve or gets worse despite over-the-counter medications. This type of headache could signal an underlying health condition.

You should also schedule an appointment if your child has recurrent headaches, daily headaches, or headaches that wake them during the night.

Happens after straining

Your child may need a neurological evaluation if their headache is triggered by coughing, sneezing, or even having a bowel movement. These headaches, called cough headaches, typically begin shortly after straining.

The symptoms of a cough headache include:

Though cough headaches are usually harmless, they can signal a problem in your child’s brain.

To get help for your child’s headache, call our offices in The Woodlands, Katy, and Cypress, Texas, or request an appointment online today.

You Might Also Enjoy...

How (and Why) to Bolster Your ADHD Child's Self Esteem

The challenges of ADHD demolish a child’s self-esteem. How can they feel confident when every day poses overwhelming problems they struggle to control? Though it’s a slow process, you can boost your child's self-esteem with these tips.

How Much Sleep Does My Child Need?

You know sleep is essential, but you may have questions about the amount of sleep your child needs and how to help them when they frequently struggle to get a full night’s sleep. Here's what you should know about your child's sleep needs.

Is My Child Suffering From Migraines?

You may think that migraines only affect adults, but children get them too. Half of adults had their first migraine before the age of 12. If your child has migraines, they need unique treatment to ease their pain and prevent future headaches.

What Causes Developmental Delays in Kids?

Parents share stories about their kids and inevitably compare their child's development to others. If your child seems slow to achieve skills like walking and talking, they may have a developmental delay. Here's a rundown on delays and their causes.

Debunking Common Myths About Tourette Syndrome

If there's one thing that adds to the challenge of helping your child learn to live with Tourette syndrome, chances are it’s dealing with all the myths surrounding the disease. This blog runs down the top six myths and sets the record straight.