New School Year Puts Kids And Teens At Increased Risk For Headaches And Migraine

by Aruna on Sep 1 2009 11:45 AM

Children and teens become more susceptible to the pain and discomfort of headaches and migraines as the new school year begins reveals a new study.

More than a third of children suffer from recurrent headaches - headaches that occur more than once a month. Most are tension headaches, which are less severe and do not occur with nausea or vomiting.

"Try to get your kids back into a routine schedule at least two weeks before school starts," said Dr Ann Pakalnis, neurologist at Nationwide Children's Hospital.

"Begin enforcing earlier bedtimes, and make sure children are well-rested before beginning a new school year," the expert added.

In the new study, researchers at Nationwide Children's Hospital found that sleep and emotional disorders were common in adolescents with migraines.

Sleep disorders and mild, chronic depression became more common as headaches became more frequent.

In addition those who regularly consumed caffeine also reported more depression and were poorer sleepers.

"Our study indicates that patients with migraines should be monitored for sleep and emotional disorders," said Pakalnis.

"These findings suggest that factors such as frequent migraines may play a role in the occurrence of these disorders.

"Also, minimizing caffeine consumption may benefit sleep and mood in headache patients and decrease susceptibility to migraine attacks," she added.

In addition to making sure kids get plenty of sleep and minimize caffeine intake, parents should ensure their children are eating balanced meals and snacks regularly.

Also, limit their caffeine intake and monitor to check that they are getting the proper amount of fluids.

Over-the-counter medicines can provide relief but are sometimes difficult for children to swallow or digest, particularly if they have a migraine accompanied by nausea. Newer therapies such as triptans, which work on the brain's serotonin system, are very specific for migraine treatment.

The study is published in journal Headache.