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Child Migraine: My 7 year old is dizzy

by Sarah
(Oxnard Ca)

I have a 7 year old daughter and last night she was standing up and she told me that she is very dizzy and she said her vision is fuzzy and she has never felt like this before.. She said her head hurts as well. She is not sick nor vomiting so I do not know what it is... Any suggestions?

Sarah

Answer:

Hi Sarah,

You do not mention whether or not migraines are in your family or not. If they are it could be just that.

I see so many cases of teens with migraine and many times they start in childhood, but were misdiagnosed. Plenty of adults come to me tell me that they remember having headaches in grade school.

"Dizzy" is probably the mild vertigo that starts with a migraine as is blurry vision. Not all migraines come with severe nausea and vomiting, but if a patient cannot eat during a headache, that infers low level nausea.

Many children have "stomach migraines" also known as abdominal migraine.



Usually children respond well to the vitamins used in alternative headache treatments. But in any case, a new onset of headache, no matter what the age should be discussed with your pediatrician. Headaches in kids are really not normal and she needs an exam by the doctor.

Good luck!
Mary Kay Betz MS RPA-C

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Child Migraine Everyday

by Angela L
(Newark Ohio U.S.A.)


My 9 year old daughter has a headache almost everyday. I took her to the doctor today he thinks she has migraines. I am very worried; the headache is mostly across the forehead and between the eyes. She hardly ever gets them in the summer the doctor says she looks too healthy for him to think it is something more then migraines.

He gave her 50mg imitrex he said if the headache goes away from that then has migraines.

Thanks Angela L.

Answer:

Hi Angela,

I am glad you took your daughter to the doctor for this. Many times parents are unaware that headaches in children can rarely point to something more serious than migraine.

You do not mention if there is migraine or headaches in the family. Even if your mother or grandmother had mild headaches, say for instance, with menses, then they had migraines. There is a genetic component to migraine.

Migraine in children is sometimes called stomach migraines due to the fact that many children will have abdominal pain as the most prominent symptom.

It is a bit of a clue that your daughter does not have headaches in the summer. I have seen this many times in children and what I usually uncover is some sort of school stressor..it might be too overwhelming to do so much homework, there is a teacher the child doesn't like or another student. I have also seen children who had schedules busier than mine! That much stress is bound to provoke headaches.

The doctor is right...Imitrex will only work if the headache is a migraine. If you have not tried the Imitrex yet give it a try. It is a very safe drug and can ease her pain. If it brings the headache down, repeat the dose in 2 hours, maximum is 2 doses in 24 hours. Obviously if it has no effect, then get back to the doctor.

One thing we have seen in our clinic is that children and adolescents respond much better to migraine headache treatment of vitamin supplements than adults do. There are several brands such as Migralief that are combinations of these supplements. Please discuss with the doctor before giving them to your daughter.

Good luck!
Mary Kay Betz MS RPA-C


COMMENTS:

my 7 year old keeps getting a pain above her left eyebrow then she is sick, she was getting it every month but now she is getting it every week

Answer

Hi,
First of all, headaches in children are abnormal and need to be taken seriously. Especially if the headaches are worsening.

She needs to see the pediatrician right away. Although it is easy to say she is having migraine, causes of emergency headaches needs to be ruled out.

Best of luck
Mary Kay

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Child migraine

by monique
(new haven)

My 10 yr old has complained on and off of head pains, on and off for 2 years, been to Dr. also pediatric neurologist, they think it is stress/anxiety.

I'm worried it's something worrisome, she gets belly aches also and worries about everything. would love to have an opinion..

Monique

Answer:

Hi Monique,

I am glad to hear that she has seen both the pediatrician and the pediatric neurologist. You do not mention whether or not migraine runs in your family but I suspect somewhere there is someone with "headaches".

Children's migraines are a bit different. They do not get long headaches like adults whose migraines are 4-72 hours on average. With kids the headaches are 1-2 hours and sometimes shorter.

Many people call them stomach migraines, abdominal migraine and child migraine when abdominal pain is present. Most often the abdominal pain may be the only symptom but then the child sort of grows into migraines.

Anxiety in children is common when they have migraine. They tend to worry about school, peer groups and homework. More worrying then actually causes the migraine.



At this age, lifestyle is very important. She should go to bed and get up the same time every day to settle the brain a bit, no caffeine and regular exercise. Talk to the neurologist about vitamin therapy. We tend to put the kids on Migralief vitamins and do the lifestyle changes before anything else.

Good luck!
Mary Kay Betz MS RPA-C

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Child Status Migrainosus

by Andrea
(Columbia, SC)

Hello!
I am just checking for further ideas. I have a 15 year old son who has been diagnosed with dysautonomia and mitochondrial cellular disorder (how's that for "vague?"). I am a registered nurse and constantly research new treatment modalities.

My son has had a headache now for one year. It began with the onset of a virus in Sept 2008 and has never resolved, despite Imitrex injections and daily Nortriptyline. This summer he was weaned off Nortriptyline and just started on Verapamil SR 120mg. He has accompanying nausea and dizziness.

He had status migrainosis in 2003 that lasted 6 months, and was refractory to DHE and other treatments, but finally resolved after Nortriptyline was initiated and he went through myofascial release in physical therapy. He was 9 years old when that headache started. CT and MRI scans are normal. The only other treatment that seemed to give him any relief was IVIg, which he has not received since February 2009. The improvement with that was gradual, but I can certainly see deterioration since it was stopped.

Just curious to know if you have further suggestions. We have tried chiropractic, accupuncture, hypnosis, as well. Believe it or not, he is a straight A honors level student although he has been on home bound for the better part of three years (has gastroparesis, etc assoc with dysautonomia). Thanks for thinking this through!

Answer:

Hi Andrea,

You do not mention whether or not your son has seen a headache specialist. This is a physician who has passed the recently implemented headache boards as a sub-specialty. I suspect if you can get to Duke, they have a good headache center there and you will find a headache specialist.

You do not mention amitryptiline but if he was on nortryptiline I will assume that one was tried. I actually prefer amitrip because it seems to work a bit better, especially if the patient has N/V and migraine associated vertigo. As an anti-cholinergic it works quite well to calm the brainstem. Usually the dose may be between 50-75 mg and has to be worked up slowly.

I also see no mention of anti-seizures. Topamax or Depakote (low dose) would be first line and should be taken WITH the other medications, even if he stays on verapamil.

Get him on the migraine vitamins of B2 Feverfew and magnesium if he can tolerate it. Give everything 90 days.

To break the cycle of pain, especially after one year (!) I recommend steroid infusions. We use methyprednolisolone, 1.0gm in 250ccNS for 3 days in a row, combined with magnesium 2.0gms then taper with prednisone for 2-3 weeks. I say this because he has had status migrainosus for so long.

Latest research has also indicated that serial occipital nerve blocks will also dampen migraine pain through a feedback system into the brain.

Best of luck to you and your son..
Mary Kay Betz MS RPA-C

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kid headaches

by Steve
(Toledo, Ohio)

Hi

My 11 yr old daughter has headaches everyday! she not on any other meds. I give her ibuprophen for it but they come back.

Answer

Hi Steve,

You do not mention how long she has had these headaches. Unfortunately, headaches everyday do not respond well to ibuprophen, as in the long run this actually fuels the headache and causes more pain. The condition is called analgesic rebound headache syndrome.

Headaches in children are not normal..kids that young need to be examined to rule out the remote possibility of a tumor causing the headache. If you have not taken her to a pediatrician I would recommend you see one.

As you know, there is a great children's hospital in Toledo, and I am sure that they have a pediatric neurologist who could help.

Children with headache also respond to lifestyle changes. They need 8 hours of sleep a night, and should go to bed and get up the same time everyday (within an hour) even the weekends. This helps cut down the headache pain. No skipping meals either.

You can read more about different types of headaches to see which one she might have.

Good luck!
Mary Kay Betz MS RPA-C

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Daughters Daily Debilitating Headaches

by Jill

My daughter is 21 and just recently graduated from college and has begun working in her field of study. For about 1 yr. she awakes every morning with a headache beginning in back of neck. After breakfast it will subside for awhile only to return and by the end of the day she is exhausted and in so much pain.

She hasn't had her period in over 6 months and is currently wearing a vivelle estrodial patch to see if it will provide some hormonal balance for her. I worry that her adrenal glands may not be functioning correctly as she is in a very stressful workplace.She has no energy, so it is difficult to continue to workout and she is often depressed.

I have suffered from hormonal migraines in my earlier years but she doesn't seem to have the monthly pattern of headaches like I experienced. We have tried everything and to no avail. We have seen a Neurologist, had an MRI. She does have some food allergies such as gluten and some dairy. At this point she is just so discouraged and depressed. If you have any thoughts on this, we would be so deeply appreciative. I hate to see my lovely sweet daughter suffer at her young age.

Most Sincerely,
Jill

Answer:

Hi Jill,

You mentioned that you "tried everything" but I don't really know what everything means. Has she seen a headache specialist? This is a doctor who specializes in headache, not just a general neurologist. Here is a list of headache specialists in the United States.

If you are not in the US then ask your doctor to recommend a specialist. When a person moves into chronic daily headache they really need to be seen at a headache clinic.

Since you had migraine, you most probably have passed the gene to her for migraine. They can start at anytime in life and the most common trigger is stress. That usually accounts for about 75% of a headache profile. Lack of exercise, food triggers and depression will also make the problem worse.

Chronic pain causes chronic fatigue but don't forget about vitamin deficiencies and other medical causes of headache and fatigue. These include anemia and thyroid disorder (which also causes depression). I am always amazed at how many of our patients are vitamin deficient and how much better they get after that simple fix!

Good luck.
Mary Kay Betz MS RPA-C

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8 year old headaches and fevers more then 1 a month

by shauna c
(bonney lake wa USA)

My son has has headaches and fevers 1-2 times a month that last for 3-4 days his eyes are blood shot and his temp is 102.5 without medicine with medicine (motrin) it drops to 100. he has been to the drs many times and he said he is probly having migrains and to give him tylonal or motrin. i think there is somthing eles going on. what could be the cause of this? he has missed so much school in the past from it.

Shauna

Answer:

Hi Shauna,

Headaches in the presence of a fever is a concern. Migraines do not cause fevers, even in children with migraine. Your instincts are correct..he needs to see a pediatric neurologist and have imaging done. I would recommend you take him to your nearest Children's Hospital for evaluation. If he is having a fever right now, please take him to the emergency room. At times, meningitis (even viral) in a child can be sub-acute, meaning the fever is lower and the headaches are not that severe.

Good luck,

Mary Kay Betz MS RPA-C

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Headache in 12 year old child. Has lasted over 8 months!!

by Catherine
(Norwich)


My 12 yr old daughter became ill at the beginning of October 2011. Symptoms first presented as viral until day 5 when she awoke screaming with severe burning pain at the top/back of her head. Area was incredibly sensitive to touch. GP appt first thing next morning was referred immediately to CAU. Was checked over throughout the day.

Codeine was prescribed along with immigran. She reacted badly to codeine that evening and ended up back in hospital (hallucinating, unaware of surroundings, numb/cold legs) Spent another 2 days in hospital. Decided it was not migraine, ordered an urgent MRI and sent us home. Her symptons continued to get worse, visual disturbance, extreme pain, muscle pain. Burning pain by then had become a spasming ripping pain that came in continual waves. MRI 2 weeks later revealed nerve abnormalities and we were called back to hosp immediately. Emergency lumbar puncture next day, results revealed no swelling. Refered to Addenbrookes, specialist there though she prob has a high concentration of water in brain and sent us back to NNUH. Total stay of one week in hospital. Was decided that was idiopathic pain syndrome and sent us home with a plan for rehab and physio. To date this has not worked. Currently being treated with pregabalin and amitriptyline and most recently propranolol. The propranolol was added at my request as there is a family history of severe migraine lasting many months.

With just the pregabalin and amitriptyline that symptoms had dulled slightly and my daughter was able to complete 2 hours of school a day. However this changed when she was taken briefly from amitriptyline and replace with fluoxetine. Since then pain been severe and most recently she feels incredibly nauseous but unable to vomit. Loss of appetite and visual disturbance particularly in left eye. Sight becomes grey, sees lines, blotches and insects on wall (which are not there)Left eye feels droopy. Confusion and sleepiness. Vision has been checked extensively, including neurophysiology appt that concluded that the optic nerve was clear and optic pathways functioning properly. Any ideas??

Catherine

Answer:

Hi Catherine,

It is possible that she is suffering from a post viral syndrome which can include headache and neck pain. If she improved on the amitryptiline then it should be put back in..she can take it with the fluoxetine just take that in the morning and the amitryptiline in the evening.

Has she seen a pediatric neurologist? I will assume so at this point but I don't see that an EEG was done to rule out seizures. A 24 hour EEG would be most appropriate. Seeing insects can be sign of partial seizures.

I am not sure what 'nerve abnormalities' on the MRI means. Small hyperintensities on the MRI can indicate a history of migraine but in 20% of the population they are just there and don't mean much.

I also don't see any steroid on board. I would recommend trying this to try and alleviate her pain.

Hope it works out...best of luck.

Mary Kay Betz MS RPA-C

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Daugther 13 years old sick with headaches

by Patty
(Anchorage, Alaska)


My 13y old daugther started sick in March/12. She had 4 different antibiotics for a bad cold complicated with bronquitis. She continued sick with horrible headache and they ordered a CT Scan that showed severed sinus infection. They gave her another antibiotic until the sinus infection cleared. She continued sick, they did several blood test and did not find something concrete. They tested for mono and the test showed that she had mono or she was in the remision time.

She has continued sick with headaches, nausea, tummy ache, fatigue and sleeping a lot. She could be sleeping 20 hours straight if we dont wake her up.

She has history of Anxiety and OCD and takes 50 mg of Zoloft, she started with Zoloft a year ago. It helps with her Anxiety/OCD symptoms but she has gained too much weight.

The pediatrician called the Psychiatrist to suggest that maybe Zoloft was causing the headachs and suggested to change meds. Psyquiatrist said that she thinks, her sicknees is due to new OCD symptoms and anxiety . She increased the dose of Zoloft and wants to see if she improves. She started with increased dose 2 days ago. My daughter got very mad with the Dr. because she was suggesting she was faking the symptoms. I don't feel very comfortable with this Dr. diagnosis, I have seen my daughter crying with pain.

We got an appointment with a Pediatric Neurologist but it is until October. We live in Alaska and we don't have other Drs with this specialty or at least somebody that people reccommend as the best.

I have suggested the Drs ideas but some of the think I am anxious and the Psiquiatrist even said that I am in the game with my daugther sicKness. I did not like that. I have mentioned to the Drs that they have seem her, about family history with migraines and that I was treated with an antiseizure medication for 1 year and I got better. No more migraines with vomit, sensibility to light or seeing stars or aurora. I suggested and EEG and they think that she does not need it. My EEG at that age was abnormal. My oldest daugther had seizures at the age of 13.

We can not wait to see the Neurologist until October. She missed the last quarter of school and we are close to start new school year. I don't want her to miss school.

Her migraines are that bad that when we were in Orlando we lost the tickets to go to Magic Kingdom because she could not get up.
I would like to have your suggestions. Thanks

Patty

Answer:

Hi Patty,

First of all I would call the Pediatric neurologist and see if they have a cancellation list. Many times they do, and in our office people call every day to cancel...so if a new patient has to be seen more often than not we can see them sooner than expected.

With a family history of migraine and seizure she definitely inherited the risk for migraine.

Because anything can set off migraine, I suspect the infection may have been the trigger. We see this quite often that someone will go into status migrainosus or a migraine that has gone on over 3 days.

She might respond to a week or two of steroid if the anxiety is under good control. Remember, if you are anxious then she will be anxious which then makes her headaches worse.

Many kids have abdominal pain with migraine also known as stomach migraines.

What you can do is put her on the migraine vitamins of Migralief before she gets to the neurologist. She must go to bed and get up the same time every day even the weekends to help the brain settle down.

If the mood is not under good control then talk to the psychiatrist again and discuss other options for treatment.

Try to avoid over the counter meds for the headaches as it will fuel them and make them worse.

If you can travel there is a headache center in Seattle Washington and they might see her if the neurologist can't help.

Good luck
Mary Kay Betz MS RPA-C

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