Video Q & A:

Kids & Teens


How do I know if my child is having a migraine?

Expert:   Lawrence C. Newman, MD, Director, The Headache Institute, Roosevelt Hospital Center »

Children aren't the best at articulating their feelings, so how are you supposed to know when they're in pain? Memorize the signs you should keep a lookout for.

Transcript: You don’t always know when your child’s having a migraine. You’ll probably know SOMETHING isn’t right, but figuring out it’s a migraine can be tricky. When children experience migraines, they often have trouble describing them. All they know is that they feel different and they don’t like it. So if your child looks like he’s been put through the ringer and tells you "It feels like my heart is pounding in my head,” or "I feel like my head is inside a big bass drum,” he’s probably experiencing a migraine. Some children will show signs of a migraine attack 24 hours before it hits. These signs typically include irritability, talkativeness or social withdrawal, increased or decreased appetite, water retention and trouble sleeping. But if the migraine has already set in, you’ll want to look out for symptoms such as nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, chills, sweats, confusion, and sensitivity to light, sound, or smells. Asking your child questions during this time MAY help you pinpoint if it’s a migraine or just a stomach bug. Ask WHERE the pain is. If it’s around the eyes, in the forehead region, or in the temples, it could be a migraine. Ask if their vision is BLURRED or if they’re experiencing flashes of light, dark spots, and the feeling of floating. If so, they’re most likely having a migraine with what’s called an AURA. Luckily, children's migraines usually last about 30 minutes, but some can come and go in just 10 minutes or drag on for 48 hours. If your child does experience migraines, see your doctor about treatment options for the future. More »

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