In this article, we welcomed writer Elizabeth Hines to share her personal insights and research on how to help children with migraine both from her own and from a parent’s point of view. Here’s Elizabeth….
A migraine is more serious and painful than just an intense headache. Not only is the pain extreme, but the additional symptoms of nausea and vomiting, sensitivity to light and visual disturbances caused by aura, can be extremely difficult to cope with. For children, it can be a frightening experience and can lead to anxiety.
A migraine sufferer myself, I am all too aware of the multiple ripple effects which migraines may have on other aspects of a child’s life. As a parent, you may feel helpless watching your child going through this. However, there are some steps which you can take to help them cope with migraines and find some relief.
1. Start A Migraine Journal
Each time your child has a migraine, make a note of the day of the week, time of day, what they’ve eaten, the weather and what activities they’ve been engaged in. Over time, this will help you to identify triggers – a very important step for any parent of children with migraine.
Your child may be triggered by specific foods, hormones (including their menstrual cycle), irregular sleep, stress or physical activity. For me, I was able to notice that most of my migraines were triggered by outdoor physical exercise lessons at school.
2. Get Plenty Of Sleep
Too much or too little sleep can trigger a migraine. Personally, I found that sleeping regular hours, even at the weekend, can help prevent migraines. Make sure that your child is getting 8 hours sleep every night and going to bed and waking up at regular times. Sleep can also be an effective treatment for children with migraine.
3. Eat Regularly And Stay Hydrated
For many children with migraine, attacks can be triggered by certain types of foods. You can avoid this food type in future to help prevent migraines. Similarly, it’s important to ensure that your child is eating healthily and regularly.
From experience, I find that skipping a meal or failing to eat at regular intervals can lead to a headache. These can then quickly escalate and become a migraine. Similarly, ensure that your child drinks plenty of water and stays well hydrated to prevent a migraine, especially while exercising.
4. Use Medication
Having suffered from migraines myself since I was 12 years old, I know from experience how difficult getting the correct diagnosis can be and how frightening this time can be for a child. If you don’t have prescribed medication, using over-the-counter products at the onset of a migraine can help to minimize its effects and offer some relief.
Similarly, anti-nausea medication can be extremely helpful. For me, migraines lead to vomiting. As a teenager, this was especially upsetting and challenging to handle. Yet, anti-nausea medication helped me to recover from a migraine more quickly, which was extremely beneficial.
5. Use Heat/Cold Packs
Your child may feel extremely shivery and cold when they experience a migraine, or feel overwhelmed by the heat in their heads. As such, having a supply of heat and/or cold packs at home can help to provide them with some relief. I found that a cold pack on my head was very effective, especially when combined with ensuring my body was wrapped up warmly. Personally, I found this to be the most effective strategy for providing me with sufficient comfort to sleep through a migraine.
6. Learn To Relax
Stress can be a major trigger for many sufferers, especially as children grow older. Helping your child learn how to relax can be extremely beneficial. Engaging in some regular, gentle exercise or going for a walk outdoors can be a simple and effective strategy. Alternatively, try some mindfulness techniques, such as yoga and meditation. Some people have also found chiropracty to be an effective alternative treatment. However, it’s important to ensure that you only receive chiropractic treatment from a licensed therapist.
Experiencing a migraine can be an exhausting and frightening experience, particularly for a child. As a parent, creating a calm and soothing atmosphere for your child and providing them with comfort is especially important. Identify their triggers so that you may be help your child to prevent a migraine and use a combination of strategies to support their recovery. Most importantly, remember that finding the right treatment for your child is a journey. By supporting your child to find effective coping strategies, you are helping them to make living with migraines manageable and even preventable.
Elizabeth Hines is an experienced digital marketer and content writer at UK Writings and Academized, where she writes articles about the latest tech and marketing trends, innovations and strategies. She also writes for State of writing, as well as a range of other online magazines and blogs, where she regularly shares strategies and tips with other migraine sufferers to help them cope with and overcome migraines. Elizabeth can often be found doing yoga and going on hikes with her family.
From the Editor:
- Know Your Options: Innovations in Migraine Treatment
- An article by a young woman who began experiencing migraine at 8 years old: Migraine and My 14 Years of Frustration