70% of school children experience a headache at least once a year. Children's headaches can be different to those in adulthood, so adults may fail to recognise that the child has one. NHS Choices offers useful information about headaches in children.
What is the difference between a headache and a migraine?
A migraine is more than just a headache and can include:
Migraines can easily be overlooked or mistaken for other conditions, or even thought of as just bad behaviour.
The Migraine trust report that;
"Migraine in children and young people can often go undiagnosed and untreated, which can have negative consequences in terms of children and young people’s well-being and educational attainment."
It is often not just one thing that triggers a migraine attack. If potential causes can be identified, it may be possible to reduce the number of attacks by making changes to the child’s lifestyle and diet.
Common triggers of migraines can include:
- Dehydration - not drinking enough water
- Stress & anxiety - including exams
- Certain foods including chocolate, cheese, citrus fruit
- Puberty & hormonal changes
- Not eating regularly
- Changes in sleep pattern
- Too much TV/ video games
- Not enough fresh air
- Change in weather
- Flickering lights or reflections in water
- Exercise without enough food