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Three Common Types of Kids’ Headaches, When to Worry

July 13, 2018

Every kid suffers from an occasional headache. They come and go for various reasons: weather, food, infection, dehydration or stress. Most of the time it’s nothing to worry about, but when your child starts complaining of having frequent headaches, the whole family suffers. Most headaches can go away on their own, but here are three common types:

Tension Headache - These come on slowly and produce mild to moderate pain on both sides of the head. Tight muscles in the head or neck may also be present. Pain is non-pulsating.

Migraine Headache – The pain in the head is commonly throbbing or pulsating. Other common symptoms may include nausea and/or vomiting, stomach pain, and light and sound sensitivity. Relief is commonly achieved with sleep.

Chronic Daily Headache - Headaches that occur 15 or more days a month. These can be tension or migraine headaches or a combination.

Most of your child’s headaches won’t be serious. Consult a physician if:

  • Headaches were caused by an injury, especially to the head
  • They progressively grow more frequent or become constant
  • Changes in vision occur
  • They cause recurrent vomiting
  • If there is fever, or neck pain or stiffness
  • Your child’s personality is different or you feel like something is “off”

The best advice for kids with headaches? Make sure they eat healthy food, drink plenty of water, and have a consistent sleep routine. If you're concerned your child's headache is more serious, the Neurology Department at Arkansas Children’s can help get your child diagnosed and on the path back to wellness. If you would like more information about the neurological and neurosurgical services at Arkansas Children’s Neuroscience Center, please call the appointment center at 501-547-8568 option #1.

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