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Headaches and Migraines

If you are concerned about a headache, talk to your parents and see your GP or contact the NHS 111 Helpline.  

Young people in the playground


70% of young people experience a headache at least once a year. Young people’s headaches may be different to adult's headache.

What is the difference between headaches and migraine?

A migraine is more than just a headache and can include:

  • Feeling sick or vomiting,

  • Being extra sensitive to light or sound

  • Tummy pain

  • “Aura”-visual disturbances, confusion, numbness and/or pins and needles.

Migraine can be easily be overlooked so you should seek help from your GP if you have any of these symptoms.

Migraine triggers

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 your lifestyle and diet.

Common triggers to migraine can include:

  • Dehydration- not drinking enough water

  • Stress and 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 food

Useful links:

Migraine advice for teens - The Migraine Trust

Headaches - NHS Choices

Migraine website for children and young people - Migraine Action