Headaches can make anyone’s daily routine drag. Sometimes, they can be so debilitating that they make simple tasks feel like painful chores. What many people don’t realize, is that headaches can affect children as severely as adults.
Headaches can majorly impact a child’s performance in school and regular activities. Before you assume your child is exaggerating the symptoms, you might want to learn what Chaouki Khoury, M.D., director of the Baylor Comprehensive Headache Center, has to say about pediatric headaches.
Q: How common are pediatric headaches?
Pediatric headaches are more common that people think. Up until very recently, people used to dismiss kids with headaches and instead reassured them that it was all in their heads.
When you look back at studies that have been replicated in Europe, Latin America and the United States, approximately 50 percent of boys and 75 percent of girls will experience a headache within a year. In the United States, approximately 6 percent of all children experience chronic headaches.
Q: What are chronic headaches?
When talking about chronic headaches, we are referring to the primary headaches. The first distinction to make is learning the differences between primary headaches and secondary headaches.
Primary headaches are headaches that occur without an underlying cause, usually due to a genetic predisposition. The most likely example of a primary headache is a migraine.
Secondary headaches occur because of an underlying cause, such as head trauma or a brain tumor. To treat these headaches, you need to identify and treat the underlying cause.
Q: What treatment options are available?
Baylor has a comprehensive headache program from pediatrics to adulthood. The advantage of the comprehensive headache program at Our Children’s House at Baylor, is that patients are directed to a dietitian, psychologist, physical therapist and a neurologist. We coordinate the child’s care from every aspect, to not only focus on taking a pill for headache symptoms, but we address all contributing factors to the child’s headache.