There is a large number of children and adolescents with headache disorders, and consequently unique issues affecting them. Like adults, children with headache can be anxious and depressed. They may not get the amount of sleep they need each night, and may be struggling with obesity. Adolescent girls may have menstrual irregularities. Spending 6-8 hours a day at school however sets them apart from adults. Dealing with the struggle to be academically successful, brought on by the child or the parent can add stress, whether they have headaches or not.
Bullying and peer pressure, both publicized more often in the media lately are still issues many kids are confronted with on a daily basis. For some children and adolescents, an undiagnosed learning disability can add complications to academic and social issues.
So, how do kids and adolescents deal with the normal challenges of life, when they have headaches as well? It helps to employ some positive steps, which hopefully will become life-long habits. Having breakfast, getting consistent sleep, and exercise are important. Seeking methods to cope with stress, such as biofeedback can make a difference.
Insisting that the child go to school even with a headache will avoid the secondary gain of missing classes. Encouraging the child to follow through on family chores and responsibilities can also help. Most importantly though, acknowledging the child’s pain can make a world of difference for the child. Often, they are told by friends, teachers and others that their pain can’t be that terrible, or that there is no pain at all. A child who has a “village” of family, healthcare providers and teachers surrounding him will be better able to deal with headaches than a child who feels isolated. Adults with headaches get the same benefits from a supportive network…….Headache The Journal of Head and Face Pain February 2012