Headache Help for Your Child or Teen

Headache triggers are the things that often prompt and cause headaches in children. Being a parent, you should keep an eye on headache triggers and try to prevent those as much as you can. There are different types of headache triggers.

Headache triggers

The following are some of the most common headache triggers:

Let us try to understand the trigger and the activity or things you can do to manage those headache triggers.

Lack of rest and excessive physical activities

You must ensure proper sleep, wake up and activities routine. If your child doesn’t have a routine, he or she may be more likely to get headaches by indulging in excessive physical activities or lack of rest.

Sleeping too little or too much

  • If your child is not getting enough sleep, fix this issue.
  • Plan at least 9 to 10 hours of sleep each night. Allow your child to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.
  • Turn all electronic gadgets, cell phones, computers, tabs and games at least 1 hour before bedtime.
  • Ensure that your child sleeps the same amount throughout the week even on weekend as well. They should not sleep more on weekend and less during the week.

Exercising too much or not enough

Not doing regular activity or exercise – Regular aerobic exercise at least three to four times a week may help reduce the stress of your child and keep them healthy. Running, walking, cycling, moderate exercise and other activities can help manage headaches in children. However, excessive work, physical activities and excessive exercises and changes in the pattern of routine exercise can also trigger headaches. Headaches can come from foods or smells, or from stress or not getting enough sleep.

Temperature can trigger headache

Feeling too cold or hot can trigger headaches. You can manage this factor by avoiding harsh environment and weather conditions and taking appropriate measures accordingly.

Avoid Strong Smells

Certain perfumes, colognes, strong-smelling scents and odours can trigger headaches. Don’t let your child wear such perfumes.

Avoid Light Exposure

Blue and bright lights exposure trigger headaches in children – Don’t let your child play video games and use smartphones, computers and television.

Loud Noises

Prevent your child from being around loud noises and sounds – heavy musical instruments, heavy traffic zones and DJ’s.

Skipping meals

Children tend to skip meals or go too long without food when they engage in certain activities. Skipping breakfast can cause headaches. Ensure that your child gets breakfast, morning snack, lunch, evening snack and dinner at scheduled time intervals regularly.

Not eating a balanced diet

Your child should eat a balanced diet regularly. Make an appointment with the dietician to know more.

Avoid Caffeine

Caffeine – Food and drink with caffeine can help a headache at first, but in the long run, frequent uses cause headaches much more than they help them. Don’t let the child drink caffeine-rich beverages, tea and coffee regularly. Once in a while is OK, but regular use should be avoided.

Other Foods that Trigger Headaches

Processed foods – such as hot dogs, pepperoni, bacon, salami (cured meats) and foods with artificial sweeteners (aspartame), and fried foods (French fries) can trigger headaches. Aged cheese, Yogurt, chocolate, citrus fruits (grapefruit and oranges) can also trigger headaches in some children.

Anxiety and Stress

Stress or anxiety-related headaches can be managed by exercise, massage, acupuncture, cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), biofeedback and talking and counselling therapy.

How to Treat Headaches without medicines

You can manage your child’s headache in many ways. Don’t give medicines too often to your child unless prescribed and instructed by the child’s paediatric neurologist. If your child is used to taking headache medicines too often – more than 3 to 4 times per week – they can cause problems. The following are some of the ways in which you can manage headache without using medicines.

Massage, Yoga or Meditation

When you see your child’s paediatric neurologist for the child’s nagging headaches ask the doctor about the ways to deal with stress. The neurologist may suggest massage, yoga or meditation and counsel you and your child. In addition, there are other options such as deep breathing exercises, aromatherapy and biofeedback.

Other Relaxation Techniques

Meditation, massage therapy, acupuncture, cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), biofeedback, and other relaxation techniques and therapies can help manage stress. It is better to talk to your child’s psychologist about the appropriate therapies and techniques for your child.

Make your child drink enough water

Ensure that your child drinks enough water and is well hydrated. Ask your child’s neurologist if you are unsure about how much water he or she should drink. A well-hydrated child’s urine is clear.

Bottom Line

You must ensure a daily routine and working schedule for your child. Every activity of your child ranging from going to school, playing, involvement with hobbies and other physical activities should be in accordance with that routine. In addition, keep a headache diary handy and list all types of headaches – the time when they happen, how they persist, associated symptoms and others. Keep an eye on something that triggers headaches and make a note of it in the diary. Talk to your neurologist about something else that should also be included in that diary. Keeping a routine is good, but it is also important for them not to try to do too much.

Call or immediately book an appointment with your paediatric neurologist if your child’s headache gets worse or happens more often. You must also take action promptly and call your doctor if you feel that your child’s headache is different from previous ones. Anyway, you should call your doctor if your child experiences the worse headache in their life. When your child has a headache with a stiff neck and fever, they are not able to respond, think or move with weakness in hands and legs and seizures – you must see your child neurologist.