Migraine Red Flags to Look Out For in Your Children

September 18, 2022|Migraine / Headache| by Harrison Salisbury

migraine chiropractor in West Jordan, childrenMigraine chiropractor in West Jordan, Dr. Salisbury, wants to reiterate that a migraine is a real headache. It is not a disease or a mental illness. It’s a neurological disorder that affects a lot of people worldwide. It is typically characterized by intense headache pain, often on one side of the head, accompanied by sensitivity to light and sound, vomiting, and nausea. 

Migraines can last from several hours to three days, with an average duration of 4 to 72 hours. This characterization, however, is mainly established with adult migraineurs, but how about with the younger ones? 

Well, that is exactly the focus of this article. Join us as we guide you – with the help of a trusted migraine chiropractor in West Jordan – to delve into the red flags that you should be wary of if you suspect your child of having migraine attacks.


Migraine in Children

In children, migraine symptoms can differ from what adults experience. For example, the most common symptom in boys and girls is nausea. However, only one-quarter of children with a family history of migraines report severe vomiting.

In older children (10-18 years), studies show that more than half of patients experience visual disturbances during a migraine attack; these may include flashes or wavy lines in their field of vision or black spots before the eyes. 

Ocular symptoms are also more common among adolescents than younger children (5-9 years). Children who have experienced headaches since they were five years old are more likely to have them with aura than those who did not have headaches until they were 10 or older.


How Migraine Manifests in Children

As a parent, it could be hard to know what normal behavior is for your child and what might be a sign of an illness. Here are some red flags you should look out for: 

Unusual Behavior

If your child is experiencing migraine symptoms, they may also experience changes in their behavior. There are many types of migraines, some more common in children than others. They might become irritable or withdrawn, have trouble sleeping, or become more forgetful than usual. 

These symptoms are often confused easily with other illnesses such as allergies or the flu—but if you’re concerned about something being off with your child’s health, reach out to a trusted migraine chiropractor in West Jordan. As always, and with everything, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

To learn more about the connection between head and neck injuries and migraines, download our complimentary e-book by clicking the image below.

Poor Appetite

Poor appetite is one of the most common migraine signs in children. A child with a poor appetite experiences a decreased food craving or appetite; loss of appetite is also possible. However, this can be challenging to determine because it’s hard to know when an ordinary decrease in appetite is actually due to a migraine and not just something that would generally happen due to factors like growth or food preferences.

The reason behind why this symptom manifests during a migraine attack is that the brainstem’s response to pain signals from the trigeminal nerve is releasing chemicals that make us feel bad and want less food than usual.

Gastrointestinal Issues

Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. These symptoms are often related to migraine in children because the nerves that control digestion are located near the trigeminal nerve that controls sensations of the face. 

This means a child may experience gastrointestinal upsets during or after a migraine attack. The reason children with migraines have gastrointestinal problems is still not completely understood, but you can help manage it with the help of medications such as antispasmodic drugs. 

Mood Swings

Mood swings are a common symptom of migraine in adults, and they can also occur in children. Adults with migraines are often quick to explain that their child’s moodiness is not just normal behavior but actually a symptom of their migraines. However, it’s important to remember that mood swings can be signs of depression or anxiety—or they may be symptoms of other issues such as ADHD or bipolar disorder.

Why do some children have extreme mood swings? One reason seems clear: headache pain affects emotions and behavior. This makes better sense if you consider how much energy you expend trying not to cry out during an intense headache, how frustrated you feel when your head throbs between classes at school, or how tired and irritable (and therefore grumpy) many people get after having one too many migraine attacks. 

Pounding Headache

Headache is a common migraine symptom but can vary in intensity from mild to severe. Migraines are usually throbbing and can be unilateral (one-sided) or bilateral (both sides). Children with migraines have pounding headaches, but it may be because they have smaller blood vessels close to their brainstems than adults.


Tips for Parents on Caring for Children with Migraines

The migraine experience can be quite different from one person to another, and the red flags also vary from one child to another. That’s why it’s imperative to stay alert and aware of the changes in your child, especially if you suspect a child migraine problem.

If your child has a migraine with aura, you should take them to the emergency room immediately. Auras are also potential warning signs that indicate that the person is having a stroke or brain tumor and needs to be seen by a neurologist right away. 

If your child has migraine without aura, watch for warning signs and take him or her to the doctor if they get worse than usual; this may indicate an impending cluster headache episode that requires treatment with triptans – a type of medicine used to treat migraines. 

If you prefer a more natural way to address your child’s migraine, try upper cervical chiropractic care. It is effective and safe and widely supported by science.


Trusted Migraine Chiropractor in West Jordan – Dr. Harrison Salisbury

If you are concerned about your child’s migraine symptoms, we encourage you to reach out to us at Brain and Spine, PLLC, by calling (801) 784 8217 or sending your message online. We are here to help and to provide helpful and precise chiropractic adjustments to help the body heal and cope with painful health complaints like migraines. We are open Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 9 am to 6 pm, by appointment on Tuesdays, and half day on Fridays from 9 am to 12 noon.


To schedule a consultation with Dr. Salisbury, call our West Jordan office at 801-823-2523. You can also click the button below. If you are outside of the local area, you can find an Upper Cervical Doctor near you at www.uppercervicalawareness.com.