Treatment of Headaches in Children

Specific treatment for headaches will be determined by your child's physician based on:

  • your child's age, overall health, and medical history
  • type of headaches
  • severity and frequency of the headaches
  • your child's tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
  • your opinion or preference

The ultimate goal of treatment is to stop headaches from occurring. Adequate headache management depends on the accurate identification of the type of headache and may include:

  • avoiding known triggers, such as certain foods and beverages, lack of sleep, and fasting
  • changing your child's eating habits
  • exercise
  • resting in a quiet, dark environment
  • medications, as recommended by your child's physician
  • stress management

Migraine headaches may require specific medication management including:

  • abortive medications-medications, prescribed by your child's physician, that act on specific receptors in blood vessels in the head and can stop a headache in progress.
  • rescue medications-medications purchased over-the-counter, such as analgesics (pain relievers), to stop the headache.
  • preventive medications-medications, prescribed by your child's physician, that are taken daily to reduce the onset of severe migraine headaches.

Some headaches may require immediate medical attention including hospitalization for observation, diagnostic testing, or even surgery. Treatment is individualized depending on the underlying condition causing the headache. Full recovery depends on the type of headache and other medical problems that may be present.

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