Headache in children – practice for child neurology, heidelberg

Headaches are an issue that Children and her parents increasingly busy. 20% of pre-school children and 50% of children at the end of primary school already know headaches from their own experience!

The frequency continues to increase in older children: By the age of 12, 9 out of 10 children had experienced headaches, which can occur with different frequency and intensity. Recurring headaches affect the child’s development, ability to concentrate, and therefore not only school performance, but also the child’s joie de vivre, including social behavior.

  • Common forms and causes

Children often have so-called Tension headaches in front. The causes of this form of headache are variable and can range from school pressure, lack of movement, one-sided movements (long sitting, playing on a PC / tablet etc.) to a lack of recovery times and lack of sleep.

Also one migraine can occur in childhood, especially if other family members of one migraine are affected. In childhood are the typical migraine symptoms are often not yet fully developed and there are mixed images between tension headaches and migraines. Overall, tension-type headaches predominate in childhood and adolescence. Other forms of headache that already occur in children / adolescents are, for example, the so-called Cluster Headache as well as the drug-induced headache as a result of the excessive use of pain relievers.

Headaches can also be a symptom of a completely different underlying disease. In the practice of child neurology, the cause research is central to diagnostics and therapy that we offer for the entire spectrum of childhood headaches.

  • When should a medical presentation take place?

Mild and occasional headaches usually subside quickly when the children are rested and cared for. In this case, it is sufficient to watch the child first.

A child neurological examination should be done if the child repeatedly or even regularly complains of a headache so that a correct diagnosis can be made and treatment can be initiated.

If your child has already been diagnosed with a tension headache or a migraine, it is important to see the doctor again if the attacks become more frequent and severe despite the therapy measures that have been initiated.

It is important to remember that headaches can also be a symptom of another disease. Immediate consultation with the doctor is required: if the pain sets in suddenly and violently, or if the child is accompanied by a high fever or cannot bend the neck. Even with unusual accompanying symptoms such as Visual and speech disorders, drowsiness, weakness of the arms / legs or occurrence of a seizure should be seen by a doctor.

  • symptoms

Younger children, in particular, often cannot clearly name their symptoms in the case of headaches. A possible sign of tension headaches in children is a changed mood. Some of the children become irritable and uneasy, others withdraw and look listless. The child may also touch the head, but preschool children in particular often locate headaches in the stomach.

Slightly larger children admit Tension headaches usually one dull-pressing or pulling pain that can cover the entire head, but is also located on both sides of the temples and behind the forehead.

Children and even more young people migraine however, often describe their pain as half-sided, pulsating pain attacks of medium to strong intensity. The accompanying occurrence of is typical Nausea and vomiting, bright light and Sounds will not endure. The pain increases during physical activity.

  • Diagnostics and therapy

In the practice of child neurology, diagnostics include a detailed medical history that includes not only the headache, but also the complete history of your child, including its social development. This is supported by various questionnaires and a headache calendar.

The second step is the detailed neurological examination of the child. In the practice for pediatric neurology, we have the option of performing electroencephalography (EEG) and, if necessary, further neurophysiological diagnostics.

The starting point of the therapy is the analysis and detailed discussion of the headache calendar. It is important to identify possible triggers and conditions for maintaining a headache and explain them to your child. As a first step, general therapeutic measures such as stimulus shielding by lying down in a darkened and quiet room help with therapy. A cold rag on the forehead or local massage of peppermint oil on the temple and neck. Children often fall asleep under these measures and wake up painless.


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Christina Cherry
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