Many parents are surprised to learn their child has a migraine headache because migraines are often associated with adults. But 10% of school-age children develop migraines, and half of all adults with migraines had their first headache before the age of 12. At THINK Neurology for Kids, the compassionate doctors and healthcare team specialize in identifying and treating migraines in children — a job that requires their expertise because children may have symptoms that differ from adults. If your child has headaches or stomach pain, call the office in The Woodlands, Katy, Sugar Land, or Austin, Texas, for an appointment or schedule online today.

Migraine Q & A

What causes a migraine?

A migraine headache is a neurological disorder that begins when something triggers hyperactivity in cranial nerves. There are many internal and external migraine triggers, including:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Caffeine
  • Bright lights
  • Strong odors
  • Skipping a meal
  • Extreme temperatures
  • Some food and additives

When children experience migraines, it’s important for parents to keep track of their headaches and try to determine their specific triggers.

What symptoms develop in kids due to migraine headaches? 

When adults have a migraine, they develop an intense, throbbing pain that’s often centered around one temple. They also experience nausea, fatigue, dizziness, and sensitivity to lights, sounds, and smells. Additionally, adults often have symptoms before their migraine begins and after it ends. 

In children, a migraine may last the same length of time as an adult migraine, several hours to several days, but it can also come-and-go quickly. Children are also more likely to have pain on both sides of their head.

Children may have the same symptoms as adults, but children aged five to nine are more likely to have an abdominal migraine. An abdominal migraine causes pain or tenderness in their abdomen, plus nausea and vomiting.

Like adults, children can also develop chronic migraines. Chronic migraine occurs when they have at least 15 headache days per month for three consecutive months.

The important thing to know is that your child’s symptoms may be a little different, but their pain is just as severe as an adult migraine, and it requires targeted treatment.

What is the treatment for a child’s migraine?

THINK Neurology for Kids performs a thorough physical and neurological evaluation, and orders diagnostic testing if needed to rule out other conditions that could cause your child’s migraine-like symptoms. For example, traumatic brain injuries and concussions often cause headaches that have the same symptoms like migraines.

THINK Neurology for Kids individualizes your child’s treatment, based on the severity and frequency of their migraines. However, every treatment plan includes identifying their migraine triggers and creating a plan to avoid the triggers as much as possible. Migraines are also treated with prescription medications and botox injections that prevent pain better than over-the-counter products.

If your child has head or stomach pain, call THINK Neurology for Kids or schedule an appointment online for a migraine evaluation.