3 Treatments For A Child’s Headache
Adults are not the only ones who suffer from headaches. Children, too, can suffer from a variety of different types of headaches. While the reason for some may be unknown, there are some headaches that are easy to determine the cause. Similarly, treatments can be easy or difficult to establish based on the types and causes.
Causes of Headaches in Children
- Illness or Infection: Viruses such a colds, the flu or infections such as ear or sinus, are common sources of headaches
- Head Injuries: Hard falls or heavy bumps on the head can be the root of headaches. While most bumps and bruises are minor, check with the doctor if they progressively get worse or fail to improve.
- Emotional: Kids, especially pre-teens and teens, are confronted by many anxiety provoking stresses from peers, teachers, coaches, and parents. Depression can be another source.
- Heredity: Headaches run in some families more than others.
- Foods and Drinks: Foods containing nitrates, such as processed lunch meats, bacon, and hot dogs, and foods with MSG irritate some people more than others. Caffeine is also a major culprit.
- Brain issues: Effects like tumors, abscesses, and bleeding in the brain are rare, but can cause headaches. Usually, these headaches will be accompanied by other symptoms and get progressively worse.
Three Treatments for Children’s Headaches
Different types of headaches will be treated with unique methods.
- When children have migraines, they need to be treated very carefully. Make sure your child’s doctor is aware of these migraine headaches. She may be able to provide prescription medicines that will help the symptoms get better more quickly. Follow all directions for the medication exactly as they are given. Allow your child to rest in a quiet, dark room without television, computers, or any electronic devices which may make the headache worse. Even reading a book may be disadvantageous. If your child falls asleep, this is probably very helpful as sleep is often a great cure for a headache.
- To treat a tension headache, you may want to give your child over-the-counter medicines such as children’s ibuprofen or children’s acetaminophen. In addition, help your child to relax by talking in a soothing voice. Help alleviate any fears or anxieties your child may have by giving honest, but helpful advice. For example, if a child is worried about a test they have to take at school, assure them that you will help them study once their headache is better. If they are having peer problems, offer helpful solutions or ideas they can try to make the situation better. Gently massaging their neck and shoulders may be helpful as can cold compresses on the painful areas. Teaching your child meditation may also be another method of helping them to relax.
- For headaches that are caused by infection, illness, or head trauma, it is important to treat the underlying causes when possible. For example, an ear infection may need antibiotics and a sinus infection will feel better when the sinuses drain, so you may want to use a decongestant or a saline nose spray to help with this. When there has been a head trauma, it is important to monitor the child and use cold compresses on the injured area to both reduce swelling and alleviate headache pain. In any case, keep your child well hydrated, offering water or juice frequently.
Headaches are unpleasant and prevention is an important point to consider. When possible assure that children avoid triggers such as foods, injuries, illnesses, or stresses that may cause headaches. Keeping a headache diary with information about your child’s headaches may help you determine his triggers. In addition, keeping children well-fed, well-hydrated, and well rested is essential to the reduction of headaches and their overall good health.