Chronic Migraines May Offer Explanation for Cranky Kids

September 27, 2012

It’s no surprise that when young kids get in to trouble or have difficulties performing their schoolwork and extracurricular activities, there is usually an underlying reason.  It may be that they are feeling under the weather, or that a bully is causing them anxiety.  If your child has been having coping difficulties and experiencing chronic migraines or chronic headaches, there is a new research finding you may want to learn about.

Doctors from the Glia Institute in Sao Paolo, Brazil and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York found that in a subject group of 1,856 young children more than half of those with headaches and migraines experienced emotional and behavioral difficulties, compared with less than 20% of the non-headache group.  Interestingly, they further discovered that the more frequently these kids experienced headaches, the more emotional and behavior issues they had.

It may be tricky to readily see this connection if you are a parent of a child with chronic migraines or other chronic headache conditions, such as tensions type headaches. This is because the researchers found that the emotional and behavioral difficulties linked with these headaches were internalized rather than disruptive or aggressive actions that would affect other children or annoy caretakers.  For example, these kids may experience depression, anxiety or trouble focusing rather than picking fights with others.  The study’s authors also referred to past studies that identified a link between social, focus and emotional problems with migraines in kids.  They pointed out that a major significant discovery with this study was a correlation between tension type headaches and headache frequency with the occurrence of psychological issues.

So if your little guy or girl struggles with chronic headaches, migraines and and crankiness or other emotional or attention issues, consider following up with your family doctor.  This research study, recently published in the International Headache Society’s journal Cephalalgia, would suggest that finding the right headache treatment may prove to solve your child’s depression, social problems or even lagging grades.

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