What causes headaches in children? Children get headaches for all the same reasons adults do. They may be more susceptible to certain headaches than adults, of course. If a child complains of regular headaches, it’s best to see a headache doctor.
How to Treat a Child’s Headache
Cut Out Caffeine
Like adults, kids are often drawn to caffeine – theirs usually comes through sugary soft drinks instead of coffee. Caffeine and many other stimulants can cause blood vessels in the head to constrict, which may lead to headaches. Cut out soda for a few days to see if it helps. If your child isn’t ready to quit soda “cold turkey,” try caffeine-free alternatives instead.
Be Strict on Bedtime
People of all ages become much more susceptible to headaches if they don’t get enough sleep. A child’s sleep requirements change over the years, but a solid bedtime is a must. Not only will it help them get enough sleep, but it prevents the development of insomnia and other sleep issues that can wreak havoc as an adult. Set a bedtime and stick with it at least five days a week.
Try a Warm Cloth
Heat therapy can help with many headaches related to blood vessel constriction. Heat naturally dilates blood vessels and encourages muscle relaxation. This can be a good idea if it’s bedtime and your child is clearly tired but can’t fall asleep due to headache pain. In other situations, a hot bath or shower may help. Full immersion in warm water can reduce muscle tension.
Beware of Screen Time
The bright light from electronic devices, especially phones, can cause eyestrain that may lead to headaches. Children should get into the habit of pausing every hour or so to get up, walk around and focus their eyes on distant objects. If a child seems to be growing more sensitive to light, the lighting in his or her room might be too bright or too dim.
For Expert Help, See a Headache Doctor
An occasional headache is not unusual for kids of any age. If headaches seem to be happening more frequently, however, it’s a good idea to see a specialist.
The National Headache Institute focuses on getting to the root of headaches with the best diagnostic technology. For many young patients, headache pain can be resolved and chronic problems can be prevented. For more information regarding headaches & migraines that affect women, see:
- Headaches During Pregnancy
- Menstrual Migraines
- Migraines & Menopause
To learn more, contact us.