Migrate in children: what helps against it – baby and family

Children also suffer from migraine attacks: stress can trigger headaches. How parents can help their little one

This video explains to children how migraines develop and what they can do about them

It starts with stress and it ends with stress. Children who suffer from migraines sometimes have too much on their ears before the first attack. "The children’s brain is attacked twice. It can relax less and less and has to perform more and more frequently", says Professor Boris Zernikow, chief physician at the German Child Pain Center in Datteln. So overwhelmed, the brain can only react in one direction: with pain.

Typically throbbing, usually in the forehead, often on both sides and usually very violently. Many children who have migraines also experience nausea and vomiting when they are attacked, and are sensitive to light and noise. The seizures can occur twice a year or every week, which is different for each patient.

Genetic modification causes migraines

Migraines are not that rare in children. Almost eight percent of the students are affected, and just under 59 percent suffer from headaches."It is the whole living environment that is increasingly changing for the worse for the children", says Dr. Friedrich Ebinger, chief physician of the children’s and adolescent clinic at the St. Vincenz Hospital in Paderborn.

Too much school stress, too little exercise, days full of appointments – some children put up with it, others get it a headache. But it often affects children whose families already have migraines. "This is the biological cause: a genetic defect that turns a brain into a migraine brain", explains Zernikow. And the illustrates: migraines cannot be cured.

It is all the more important that children learn to live with her. That they know what to do in an attack and how to forestall it. "To find out what triggers a migraine attack, start with a pain diary", so Ebinger. After a few weeks, it shows the context in which the attacks came and, more importantly, the situations in which the child was doing well. According to the German Child Pain Center, a headache diary can be useful for children as young as four years old – if the parents fill it out with them. Afterwards they should with the Discuss the treating doctor.

Detect and minimize migraine triggers

"One of the most important points in migraine therapy is understanding pain", explains Zernikow. "The children have to learn why they have pain and how it develops in the head." A stimulus such as school stress, but also noise or too much television is not processed by the brain to the extent that a healthy child experiences it, but can favor the complaint.

Once recognized, the triggers must be minimized. "The parents are also responsible here", says medical doctor Zernikow. If the child has already suffered a lot from the attacks, parents react very caringly and often want to keep it away from everything that could hurt – again stress for the child.

Relaxation exercises can help

"Migraine is a disease that has a lot to do with rhythm", explains Zernikow. Regular sleep often helps prevent an attack. But that also means that two or three hours more sleep on Sunday morning can be too much. Simply because the body is used to getting up at seven and not at ten. "Getting up early is a must, but the child can lie down later. Only the night sleep should be interrupted", said Zernikow.

In order to cope with migraines in everyday life, the little patients learn relaxation exercises, for example muscle relaxation according to Jacobson or yoga. So-called biofeedback is promising, but unfortunately very expensive in terms of material costs and therefore not very common. The child is connected via electrodes to a computer that shows him how tense or stressed he is at the moment. As a result, it learns to control its thoughts so that its body can relax. And the impending attack is weakened or completely prevented.

Migraines are not possible without medication

The seizures can still occur. Apart from minor attacks, diagnosed migraines are no longer without medication. "Ibuprofen is the drug of choice and should be taken in sufficient doses", advises Ebinger. Until the symptoms subside, the child should be exposed to as little stimulation as possible.

Some patients manage their migraines so that the previously extremely severe pain attacks are so weakened that they can endure them even in the classroom. Because they know exactly what will help them in this situation.


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Christina Cherry
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