Though commonly assumed that headache in children is caused by an underlying condition, research presented at the 53rd Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Headache Society says that is not true.
“Primary headache appears to be the most common headache type in children younger than 8”, said Carey Taute, MD, of the Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital. According to Dr. Taute, there is widespread uncertainty among physicians which can lead to unnecessary and often extensive testing. To help physicians, the researchers performed an analysis of children younger than 8 who were patients at the Cleveland Clinic. Of 91 children presented in the study, most were diagnosed with headaches, and only two were diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. Dr. Taute emphasized that the two children with brain tumors also showed additional symptoms and signs that were not shown in the children with headache. A previous study by Chu and colleagues also found low rates of dangerous causation in young children with headache.
The Cleveland Clinic study also stated that physician uncertainty may be due in part to the fact that headache in children is fairly uncommon.