Headaches in children can cause debilitating physical symptoms as well as emotional, psychological and social consequences if left undiagnosed and untreated. In this expert article, highly respected consultant paediatrician Dr Chinwe Ude shares her expert insight on key lifestyle changes families can make to help children suffering from recurrent headaches and explains the importance of seeing a specialist when the symptoms become persistent.
Can chronic headaches be a sign of something serious?
Many people worry that the headache is caused by sinister cause like brain tumours. Although brain tumours form a small proportion of causes of chronic headaches in children, it is important that any concerns around this are addressed and investigated under a paediatrician with expertise in managing childhood headaches, who will be able to allay anxieties while investigating and managing symptoms promptly and appropriately
What should you do if your child has chronic headaches?
In most cases, headaches are not caused by space-occupying lesions in the brain, but they can be quite severe, both in the intensity of the pain and to the extent to which it disrupts the child’s life. In general, good quality sleep and promoting a healthy lifestyle can help with headaches in children. There may be known triggers for the headaches which should be avoided. Keeping a headache diary would help you to identify triggers.
What should you do if lifestyle changes do not work?
Many families simply find it challenging to persevere with recommended lifestyle modifications. In some children, headache symptoms persist despite making those changes. Indeed, some children may have undiagnosed sleep difficulties or disorders which perpetuate their headaches.
It is important to arrange for your child to be seen by a paediatrician with experience in managing headache symptoms. The expert will arrange investigations promptly and appropriately. They should also help you identify triggers, advise around lifestyle modifications and prescribe medications to ease symptoms where necessary.
If you are concerned about your child’s headaches and wish to schedule an appointment with Dr Ude, you can do so by visiting her Top Doctors profile.