Most children get occasional headaches, but migraines are a neurological disease that requires special care. At AMS Neurology in Pasadena, California, experienced pediatric neurologist Charles Niesen, MD, specializes in migraine treatment in children. With the right customized treatment plan, your child can prevent and manage migraines effectively so they can enjoy life to the fullest. Call the office or book your child’s appointment online now.
Migraines are a type of neurological disease featuring severe headaches and other intrusive physical symptoms. Approximately 10% of children under 15 and 28% of older teens experience migraines.
Migraines can be debilitating. They may lead to school absences, missed family activities, and other disruptive changes in your child’s life. Fortunately, migraines are treatable with help from the pediatric neurology specialists at AMS Neurology.
Migraines frequently occur in stages, including:
Prodrome is a warning phase that typically occurs 24-48 hours ahead of the migraine attack. Some of the symptoms include mood swings, stiff neck, frequent yawning, and food cravings.
The aura phase commonly involves visual distortions, such as seeing wavy lines or flashes of light. Nonvisual symptoms can also occur, for example, a prickling sensation in an arm or numbness on the right or left side of the body.
During the migraine attack phase, symptoms commonly include severe head pain, typically on one side. Many people describe migraine pain as pulsing or throbbing. Light sensitivity, nausea, vomiting, and other symptoms may also occur during a migraine attack. Untreated migraine attacks can last as long as three days.
The postdrome phase, which happens after the migraine headache abates, often leads to tiredness and feeling drained.
Migraines don’t always follow a specific pattern, but they always involve significant headaches. Children who experience migraines need an accurate diagnosis and an individualized treatment plan to improve their quality of life.
Migraine treatment for children focuses on treating migraine attacks early. Early treatment (as soon as the headache starts) can limit the severity of the pain, reduce the length of the headache, and minimize disruption in your child’s life.
Your child’s AMS Neurology provider may prescribe a nasal spray or oral medication to use during migraine attacks. Medication may stop migraine pain in two hours or less. The best medication for your child depends on their age, symptoms, and other factors.
Preventive migraine treatment for children is complex. Avoiding foods or situations that trigger migraines is important for prevention. Certain medications may also help.
Recent research from the American Academy of Neurology® indicates very little evidence for using preventive medications including divalproex, onabotulinumtoxinA, amitriptyline, nimodipine, and flunarizine.
However, there is moderate evidence supporting the use of propranolol, topiramate, or cinnarizine1 as preventive migraine medications in children. Similarly, a combination approach including amitriptyline and cognitive behavioral therapy has moderate supporting evidence for children with chronic migraines.
Migraines may occur alongside other disorders or diseases, so your child’s provider tests for and treats other neurological conditions.
In addition to medication and lifestyle changes, your child’s provider may recommend keeping a symptom diary and treatment tracker to monitor the effects of their current treatment plan.
For migraine help, call AMS Neurology or click on the online booking tool now.