What Causes Headaches?
Headaches are rarely a sign of something serious and are one of the most common complaints in children. Headaches can occur either on their own, also known as primary headaches, or as result of something else, secondary headaches.
Common types of primary headaches include:
- Tension headaches: pain is mild to moderate, all over, an usually non-throbbing.
- Cluster headaches: usually one side, intense, around the eye and can be associated with eye redness, tearing, and runny nose.
- Migraines: throbbing, located in one spot, worsened by activity and can be associated with nausea, vomiting, light and sound sensitivity.
Common causes of secondary headaches include:
- Fever and infections
- Head Injury
- Benign intracranial hypertension- commonly known as pseudotumor cerebri, more common in overweight, female adolescents
Rare causes of secondary headaches include:
- Brain bleeds
- Brain tumors
How to Treat a Headache
- Eat healthy and don’t skip meals
- Get plenty of rest
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Tylenol or ibuprofen
- Alternative/complementary therapies such as massage or acupuncture
- Keep track of headache pattern in a headache diary to track frequency and identify potential triggers
Check in with K if…
- You have general questions about your child’s condition
- You want general followup for your child
- You have questions about supportive care
- Your child’s symptoms don’t go away after treatment but are not alarming
See a doctor in person if…
Worrisome headache symptoms include:
- Sudden and severe pain
- Awakens child from sleep
- Associated with fever and neck pain
- Located in the back of the head or persistently in one spot
- Progressively worse over time
- Worse when lying down, coughing, defecating or when active
- No response to medications
- Associated with vision changes or weakness of any part of the body