Headaches are common among children and in most cases the cause is simple.
Migraine and tension headaches are by far the most frequent culprits,
and these are often triggered or worsened by factors you can help control:
Not Enough Sleep: One of the best ways to prevent headaches, while also improving her health
and academic success, is to make sure she is getting enough sleep. If
she is not getting a minimum of nine hours of sleep — and some kids
need 10 or 11 — make it a priority. If she is spending enough time
in bed, but is still tired all the time, a sleep disorder could be the
reason. From insomnia to sleep apnea, undiagnosed sleep disorders among
children are an epidemic.
Dehydration: Not drinking enough is a common trigger (dehydration makes the brain tissue
shrink, causing pain), but so is drinking the wrong things; too much sugar
(causing unhealthy changes in blood sugar levels) and too much caffeine
are also frequent causes.
Stress: A child who is worried about school or relationships with friends, will
often complain of headaches. Kids’ schedules need to include regular
exercise (a great stressreliever that releases mood-boosting endorphins)
and family dinners or game nights, giving kids a chance to talk about
what’s on their mind.
Look at when and where her headaches are happening. If she wakes up with
a headache, that points to a sleep issue, such as sleep apnea or grinding
her teeth at night. If her headaches are more common after reading a book
or doing homework, then it may be time to see an optometrist. But if she
is also frequently blowing her nose, than allergies or a sinus infection
may be the culprit.
The cause of most headaches can be found with a little detective work,
starting with a “headache journal.” Jot down every time she
gets a headache, including what she was doing, what she recently ate,
and a description of the pain, including character, location, and severity.
This information will be essential in helping your doctor look for patterns
and find solutions.
One mistake to avoid: giving frequent doses of over-the-counter pain relievers.
Research shows that taking these medications more than 3 day