Whether they're pounding and throbbing or dull and aching, headaches are no picnic for kids. A lot of the time, they're caused by something simple - such as staying up too late, playing in the sun too long, or taking a bump to the head. But sometimes, headaches last longer or are accompanied by other symptoms.
Headaches can have a wide range of causes and many levels of severity.
It's important to understand how to recognize when a headache is just a passing pain, and when it's something more and your child needs medical treatment.
What's a Headache?
Most headaches happen outside the skull, in the nerves, blood vessels, and muscles that cover the head and neck. The muscles or blood vessels can swell, tighten, or go through other changes that stimulate or put pressure on the surrounding nerves. These nerves send a rush of pain messages to the brain, which brings on a headache.
What Causes Headaches?
In general, kids get the same types of headaches as adults. And headaches often are hereditary, so if you or your partner get them, your child may get them too. Some of the many potential headache triggers include:
• certain medications (headaches are a potential side effect of some)
• too little sleep or changes in sleep patterns
• skipping meals
• becoming dehydration
• a minor head injury
• using the computer or watching TV for a long time
• changes in hormone levels
• ear infections
• long trips in a car or bus
• listening to really loud music
• smelling strong odors such as perfume, smoke, fumes, or a new car or carpet
• drinking or eating too much caffeine (in soda, coffee, tea, and chocolate)
• consuming certain foods (such as alcohol, cheese, pizza, chocolate, ice cream, fatty or fried food, lunchmeats, hot dogs, yogurt, aspartame, or anything with the seasoning MSG)
Most headaches aren't signs that something more is wrong. Only 10% of headaches are caused by other medical conditions, such as infections or other serious illnesses. If your child suffers from what you believe may be headaches, consult one of our heathcare professionals at APM for a free consultation at 877-DRBACKS. We now have 7 convenient locations. As always, at APM, we are dedicated to your health.