Influenza headache

by Tammy
(Jonesboro, Ga)

Mary Kay,

Any new info on how to treat post-infectious headache? There is not much info out there regarding this affliction.

My 12 yr old son came down with the flu almost 7 weeks ago and the headache never went away. Went through ER, 5 day admission for migraines before we saw a pediatric headache specialist who finally diagnosed him. He thought it should improve in 5-6 weeks. He started him on Topamax but could not tolerate it. He is currently on Atenolol for last 2 weeks.

NO medicines have helped (we've tried them all - narcotics, migraine meds, NSAIDs) and he has a constant headache of 7-8 pain level and we get a few days where pain is 9-10 then back down to 7-8. We have tried 6 treatments of acupuncture and he was actually getting short-lived relief (2 hrs at the most) but now the treatments are painful to him and he has not gotten any better.

We are just starting chiropractic treatments since he was found to have a severe misalignment at C1-C2. He has had trouble sleeping due to the pain and most sleeping agents are not working which is compounding the problem (lack of sleep). No light sensitivity but he does get nauseated and vomits when pain is bad. Have you seen much effect from biofeedback? Massage? Herbs? Steroids?

From the little info I can gather, I am thinking the only thing that works is waiting it out which doesn't sit well with my son who is missing school, friends and his life. Any other info you can provide would help or any other resource would be great.


Hi Tammy,

Yes I too have seen this the past few weeks in our headache center. My adolescent migraineurs are having a severe migraine before coming down with the flu and continuing afterward with a headache.

We are giving IV steroids methylprednolisolone 1.0mg in 250cc NS for two days (two iv's one day apart) and follow with prednisone for a few weeks. If your son is only 12 years old the doctor will adjust this dose accordingly for his weight. Call the headache specialist and see if they can set up the infusions somehow through the hospital.

I would also recommend amitryptiline, 10mg 2 hours before bed. This works really well in kids for daily headache. May have to work it up to 40mg but let the doctor handle it.

Good luck! Hope it settles down soon.
Mary Kay Betz MS RPA-C

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