Headaches and Migraines in Children

Migraines are among one of the most common global health problems in children and with its disabling symptoms it can impair the child’s functioning and affect their quality of life.

In children the clinical presentation of migraines differ from migraines seen in adult therefore it is often under-diagnosed.

According to the International Classification of Headache Disorders (ICDHD-2), the child must have at least five episodes of migraine attacks following its diagnostic criteria.

The ICDHD- 2 criteria include:
1. An attack which last 1-72 hours
2. Headache which include two of the characteristics: unilateral or bilateral, fronto-temporally located, pulsing or throbbing quality which ranges from moderate to severe pain.
3. During the migraine at least one of the following symptoms must accompany the headache; these include nausea, vomiting and photophobia.
4. Lastly, these symptoms must not be attributed to another disorder. (Lewis & Winner, 2006, p.183)

The etiology of migraines in both adults and children is unknown, although it is believed that migraines are primarily caused by neuronal sensory dysfunctions or disturbances, which leads to the involvement of the trigeminovascular system (Austin publishing group, 2015, p.1-3). Disturbances of neuronal amino acid and calcium channels reduces the threshold for a variety of external and internal factors that can trigger episodes of cortical spreading depression also known as CSD. Genetics is also believed to be one of its contributing factors. (Lewis, 2007, p. 44) External migraine triggers are different in individuals, certain types of events or conditions can alter conditions in the brain and trigger migraine attacks. These common triggers include; emotional stress, certain foods, food additive, weather changes, skipping meals, bright light, odour as well as change in sleeping pattern or lack of sleep. (Teixido & Carey, 2014)

When our body is under a lot of stress whether it may be physically, emotionally or chemically it can create a shift in the structure of the spine . Structural shifts create abnormal nervous system function. Our nervous system controls everything and when there is an interference of normal function secondary conditions like pain, tension, back pain, neck pain, arm or leg pain, headaches, migraines etc can manifest. There has been research which demonstrates the effectiveness of improving migraines in pediatric patients; through Chiropractic care by addressing these structural shifts.


At Revolution Chiropractic we specialize in structural shifts so the nervous system and therefore the entire body can go back to normal and optimal function again.

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1) Migraine Research Foundation. (2016). Migraine in kids and teens. Retrieved from https://migraineresearchfoundation.org/about-migraine/migraine-in-kids-and-teens/?gclid=CL2f-dPUtc8CFdh6vQodl98MJg
2) Lewis, D. W., & Winner, P. (2006). The pharmacological treatment options for pediatric migraine: An evidence-based appraisal. Neurotherapeutics, 3(2), 181-191. doi:10.1007/bf03207048
3) Jan, M. M. (2014). Updated overview of pediatric headache and migraine. Saudi medical journal, 28(9). Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/6072978_Updated_overview_of_pediatric_headache_and_migraine
4) Austin publishing group. (2015). Child migraine spectrum. Austin Journal of Clinical Neurology, 2(9), 1-3. Retrieved from http://austinpublishinggroup.com/clinical-neurology/fulltext/ajcn-v2-id1076.php
5) Lewis, D. W. (2007). Pediatric migraine. Pediatrics in Review, 28(2), 44. Retrieved from DOI: 10.1542/pir.28-2-43
6) Teixido, M., & Carey, J. (2014, May 14). Migraine – more than a headache. Retrieved September 20, 2016, from http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/otolaryngology/_docs/migraine%20patient%20handout.pdf